The coronavirus pandemic hit Finland in early spring 2020. When the Government stated in a live news broadcast that it was restricting movement within the country and at its external borders, people rushed to shops and began to hoard. Store shelves and even central warehouses were emptied of staple foods: long-lasting, familiar and safe products that went unnoticed in everyday life – like macaroni.
Finland’s largest pasta and macaroni producer is Myllyn Paras, whose production plant in Hyvinkää went into overdrive as a result of the hoarding. It sourced as much ingredients as it could, its mill grinded in three shifts, and its pasta machines ran all night.
We had only just begun working with Myllyn Paras, but we immediately realised that this was our opportunity! It did not take much hinting for the media to find their way to the empty shelves in the shops to wonder where all that Finnish pasta really comes from. At this point, we had everything thought out and ready in advance. CEO Miska Kuusela reassured the nation in live news broadcasts and articles that the food supply chain would continue to operate even in these exceptional circumstances. Stocks of domestic grain would last a long time, the mills would continue to grind, the pasta machines would continue to run and the shops would continue to sell. Dozens of stories about hoarding pasta were crystallised in the headline of a news story on MTV3: Hoarders will hoard, but the Myllyn Paras CEO promises: “Macaroni will not run out in Finland”. And it never did run out either!
The year for Myllyn Paras involved more than just the corona crisis. In the spring, we ran a pop-up frozen food sales campaign in which Myllyn Paras offered a helping hand to a local sports club. This helped generate visibility. We put TV personality Sami Kuronen’s admired hands to bake rolls on social media using Myllyn Paras flours. We brought together Myllyn Paras and light art company Sun Effects, resulting in cheerful gingerbreads decorating a library wall during a light art festival in the company’s home turf, Hyvinkää.
This led quite smoothly to the Finnish Championships in Gingerbread Baking, which was transformed from a physical to a virtual event just a few days before it began. Despite the exceptional circumstances, we managed to triple the event’s media visibility.
The year culminated with a Gingerbread Partisan promotion, in which three top professionals – a chef, a confectioner and a bartender – conjured up something new out of gingerbread. The promotion was carried out via influencers and social media, continuing into the new year and successfully expanding the concept of what gingerbread is all about!