Why Farmer John went on a 12-week ‘thank you’ tour

The hot dog maker shared the strategy, tactics and results of its campaign.

Farmer John "thank you" tour
Farmer John "thank you" tour

Campaign: Thank You Tour
Company: Farmer John
Agency partners: Havas Street (strategy and experiential), Hunter (public relations), LMS Digital Marketing (social media)
Duration: July - September 2020

Farmer John embarked on a 12-week “thank you” tour to support essential workers and food banks.

When the pandemic hit, Farmer John’s marketing team decided to pause operations to take stock of the rapidly changing environment. As the company watched essential workers show up to work day after day, despite the risk of infection, a path revealed itself: find a way to support them.

Planning for the tour took place in April and June. In the lead-up to its launch, Farmer John broadened the focus from healthcare workers, who were doing heroic work but were highly visible, to other essential workers, who received far less recognition and support from the public.

“This included groups like Los Angeles metro workers, animal shelter workers, and grocery center distribution workers and drivers,” said Havas Street VP Allie Ekblad.

To give away lunches to essential workers, Farmer John embarked on a 12-week, 2,220 mile “Thank You” tour between July and September of the greater Los Angeles area.

In addition to frontline workers, the company visited food shelters throughout the city.

“We fed all the food bank workers during those drops, too—they were working their butts off,” Ekblad said.

The route was a grassroots effort, in which the brand reached out to nursing homes, grocery stores and other workplaces to see if they’d appreciate a visit.

“We wanted to show them that we care,” Ekblad said. “It was one of those programs and efforts where everyone working on it felt really good.

The tour made 64 stops, distributing a total of 18,000 meals to essential workers. In addition, it donated over 1 million hot dogs to local food banks. 

On social media, posts about the campaign generated nearly 6,000 engagements across platforms.

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