For devotees of A.1. steak sauce, fanaticism has its privileges. Prove that you’re among the most die-hard of loyalists and you could find yourself in possession of the A.1. Card–an ultra-elite membership card that allows its holder to summon a stash of sauce to wherever they are, on command. For real.
Apparently, A.1., has a rabid fan base that will go to great lengths to ensure they have the salty brown condiment the moment they need it–like carrying it with them wherever they go, or having a minion fetch a bottle during dinner at a high end steak house (as TMZ caught Nicki Minaj doing earlier this year). So, to reward those loyalists, A.1. has launched its A.1. For Life campaign of which the A.1. Card is just one VIP perk.
Long quiet on the advertising front, Kraft’s 185-year-old brand decided in 2012 to revive its public persona with a Facebook page. “We’d been dark for several years, so when we started to interact with folks and saw the passion they had, the idea was that if there are people that are that passionate about our sauce, we’ll find a way to get it to them wherever they are,” says Brett Castle, brand manager for A.1. “It helped us re-energize the brand.”
From there, the “A.1. For Life” idea grew. “What we really wanted to do was reward people for loving the brand and let them know that they’ll never have to go without it,” says Bob Winter, executive creative director at CPB, Miami, the agency behind the work.
And of course, rewarding people means finding unique ways to furnish them with sauce. Through the A.1. Games on Facebook, fans have the chance to win A.1. upgrades–such as a chance to win seat A.1., behind home plate at MLB games. All with a nice steak and some A.1., of course. Through a partnership with Live Nation, fans are also being asked to submit a video of themselves performing an “A.1. Love Song” for a chance to get an A.1. upgrade of two tickets to any Live Nation show in the U.S. including travel, plus a Live Nation Ultimate Access pass for a year of free concerts.
There’s also a chance to win exclusive smuggling accessories such as a fedora, belt buckle, watch or necklace, all with secret reservoirs designed to covertly pack a packet of sauce.
And what of that coveted A.1. card, several of which will be handed to yet-to-be-named celeb A.1. lifers? How does one win the ability to call for a case of sauce wherever, whenever (well, more like as soon as possible, within North America)? Simple: paint a portrait of the Mona Lisa … with A.1. Okay, not simple. Still, within days of the A.1. art challenge being posted (a winner won’t be chosen for some time yet), Winter says they’d received a submission, and it was stunning. “I can’t imagine what their studio smells like,” he says. “I bet it smells like dinner all the time.”
Winter says the entire campaign, which includes print ads driving to the Facebook page, is something of a saucy love letter to its consumers. “It was about trying to innovate around this insight that there are people who are real lovers of this brand. We wanted to create really unique experiences for these people that would give them something to talk about and share their passion for the brand in ways people have never seen before. It would have been easy to just think of doing a TV spot, but that may have been so general and not as tapped into this personal relationship we’re having with the biggest fans we have out there. We really wanted to give A.1. fans a reason to talk about the brand, and I’m pretty sure this is the world’s first sauce-related card.”