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Best use of Video – Series 2022: Stories of Succession

Client: Yara International
Award: Best use of Video - Series 2022
stories of succession

Brief

Yara approached us and wanted a pan-European communication concept for their fertilizer products, Yara Bela and Yara Mila, internally referred to as the “Growers for the future”-campaign.

Initially, the concept would be developed for and in close collaboration with Yara’s local marketing divisions in France, Germany, and UK. However, there was a request from Yara International that we developed a concept that would be recognizable across borders – with the potential of this turning out as a global concept in the future.

When developing the concept, we were looking for something emotionally engaging that was universal to farmers around the world. We dove deep into all the available insights and research Yara had done among farmers all over the world. And even though these research and surveys where not done with this specifically in mind, we found something interesting.

Because, although we have cultivated the soil for almost all time, with agriculture and the farming profession in constant development, and more knowledge and new technology mean that you can grow more, and more efficiently, than before – one concern seemed to be constant, and common to all farmers wherever they are: Who will take over the farm? Will my children follow in my footsteps? Will I have the opportunity to pass the land on to the next generation in as good a state as when I took over?

In a line of work which by those who are in it, the farmers, is seen more as a way of life than a profession – this felt essential.

Solution

Under the Growers for the Future-umbrella, we developed the creative concept “Stories of Succession”, which would give us the opportunity to emotionally engage with farmers and prove to them that Yara understands them and is by their side, in a way that no brand had communicated to farmers before. By portraying farmers and their (potential) successors, we would tap into fears and worries, but also hopes and dreams for the future, that farmers all over could relate to.

And underneath this emotional level, it would give us the chance to add a layer of more rational proof stories, on subjects that are vital for any farmer, but also important for Yara to show that they can contribute to; profitability, efficiency and sustainability.

So, together with Danish production company Copenhagen Film Company, it was off to Schwanau in Germany and Chaussy in France – and later Fearn in the Scottish Highlands, to produce close, honest portraits of real farmers who stood amid this overarching theme of succession: The Frenk family in Germany, the Delormes in France and the Scott family in Scotland.

At each location, we produced one main film – a “farmer’s speech” to his children – and three supporting films: Stories of profitability, efficiency, and sustainability. As well as gathering information and stories to content articles on everything from getting to know these families better, agriculture in each of these areas and their specific needs when it comes to products. We also had still photographers present on the shoots to ensure high-quality imagery that could be used for tactical/conversion ads, website, articles, etc.

For the supporting films we used other family members as “supporting cast” (spouses, daughters and of course the sons that hope to one day take over the farms). And in all these films, we had an agronomist from Yara that knew both the family and the agricultural challenges and opportunities for the specific area, providing tailored advice and representing Yara’s take on this.

In producing the main films, we interviewed the farmers thoroughly, both while on the farm as well as prior to the shoot. What we learned from them, we used to formulate a “speech” from them to their sons/daughter – the successors (hopefully). It was their words and thoughts, but written in a more profound, poetic way that fit our storyline. Then, we recorded them giving this speech – something that turned out to be a very emotional experience for everyone involved, especially the farmers themselves.

As you can hear in the film, Eric Delorme – the French farmer, is trembling and almost struggles to talk several times as he delivers the speech. Not a part of the brief of course, but both he and Thomas Frenk told us that what they appreciated the most with the whole experience was that they now had a kind of testimonial for posterity that expressed to their sons what they themselves had struggled to put into words.

Results

Yara International themselves consider the campaign as huge success, and it will be the benchmark for how they will develop product and segment campaigns in the future. Now, they are looking to expand this concept to both Colombia and Mexico – and hopefully even more markets in 2023/24.

In the past, Yara’s local marketing divisions have only done traditional, tactical campaigns in the regional markets. However, with the addition of the emotional level in this campaign, Yara sees a huge boost in both visits to their websites, engagement for the content and perhaps most importantly, a significant increase in Request For Quotes (RFQs) – in which farmers go as far as asking Yara for an actual offer for their farm.

They also see that their visiting agronomists and sales personnel are able to connect to the farmers on a whole new level than before.

Some highlighted numbers:

● 180% increase in France and 68% increase in Germany for visits to the RFQ-section on their websites.

● 75% increase in visits to the relevant product pages on their website.

● Increase in searches to the related products (Nitrate-based products), from 400 avg monthly searches in 2018 to a peak of 2900 searches in March 2021.

● Total traffic of BUE websites (the hub for this product segment and home to the campaign) grew by over 60% from 2019 to 2021, to which the campaign has given a huge contribution.

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