First made famous by an appearance on CBC’s Dragon’s Den, Hardbite Potato Chips have become a Canadian success story. But it’s a David vs. Goliath fight to stay fresh and relevant in a highly competitive industry.
Owned by BC potato farmers, Hardbite had a quality product—all natural, handmade, kettle-cooked potato chips—but sales were declining. Since their initial coverage on Dragon’s Den, brand exposure had begun to wane and competition in the already crowded potato chip market was getting more and more intense. Hardbite’s original branding and packaging no longer supported their premium position in the market and even the “Canadian-made” message was getting lost. In 2011 it was time for a complete re-envisioning of the brand and develop a strategy for sustainable growth.
Hardbite’s unique premise— the only potato chip actually manufactured on the West Coast – inspired us to create a brand that celebrated the West Coast lifestyle, edgy sports and nature. To support awareness of this slightly rebellious, independent product, a packaging refresh and more aggressive regional advertising was needed.
In a highly cluttered retail environment, packaging needs dynamic on-shelf presence. We redesigned Hardbite’s bags to feature photographs celebrating popular outdoor West Coast activities and locations, creating an immediate local connection for customers. This reinforced the fact these were local chips, not a product shipped from back east.
All it takes to convert a Hardbite fan is one taste. Street teams have been leveraged in conjunction with radio advertising to bring Hardbite Chips to the top summer attractions and events in BC. In-store sampling programs and point-of-sale materials have focused on getting consumers to experience the product first-hand.
A series of #snackattack video stunts received over half a million views on YouTube and Facebook. An Instagram outdoor lifestyle blogger amassed an enormous followership by taking Hardbite chips with him on a series of amazing adventures. An online photo contest helped supply images for packaging of additional flavours.
New Brand Message
In 2015 we launched a new positioning line that summed up the brand’s active outdoor lifestyle philosophy – All Potato. No Couch. Through radio campaigns, billboards and transit posters, the message is resonating with consumers in BC. In 2017 Hardbite entered the Alberta market.
New Product Extensions
Increased distribution and ongoing product innovation are key pillars to Hardbite's success. In addition to introducing new flavours of potato chips, we helped launch a new line of vegetable chips into the market while continuing to expand distribution across Canada and into the United States.
growth since 2011
growth in Instagram followers in 1 year
New products, ever-expanding distribution, an emotionally resonant brand and increasing awareness are driving growth and proving that with the right strategy, the little guy can win.
Some more wins: