极乐视频

#CancelPizza

Ajinomoto

Brand Marketing

Multinational food & biotechnology company, Ajinomoto has a mission to rid MSG of the racist stigma which has plagued this humble ingredient since the 60s, so we decided to fight back with a conspiracy theory of our own.

THE CHALLENGE

Gen Z鈥檚 acceptance of MSG took a 37% nosedive in the U.S. between 2021 and 2022. The culprit? A surge of misinformation on TikTok. Gen Z was being brainwashed to believe that this harmless seasoning was a dangerous toxin. 

Ajinomoto, the company that created MSG, needed us to help them regain Gen Z鈥檚 trust in MSG and get them to understand that MSG is safe to eat.

THE STRATEGY

Gen Z has an appetite for conspiracy theories, which spreads on TikTok at 6x the rate of honest information. So, to cut through and gain attention amongst our target group, we decided to create a conspiracy theory of our own, with a secret ingredient: the truth.

The truth is, Gen-Z鈥檚 favorite food, pizza, is loaded with naturally occurring MSG; parmesan, tomatoes, pepperoni and garlic. Our conspiracy hinged on a factual premise; if TikTok wants to cancel MSG, they need to cancel pizza too.

We started quietly claiming the @ handle on TikTok. At the center of our social content a direct and alarming call to action: we asked people to help #CancelPizza.

#CancelPizza mimicked viral conspiracies, but unlike others, ours was a stealth education campaign.

It looked and felt like other unhinged videos, but amongst the rants were facts, which taught TikTokers a lesson on MSG safety. The shock of our mission to #CancelPizza, made it impossible for Gen Z to ignore.

THE EXECUTION

When we began releasing content from the TikTok account, it looked exactly like other conspiracy videos, down to the unknown, unshaven talent and bad lighting. We shot on cell phones, props were homemade and there was no glam team. Each video was created in-app, using TikTok functionality to spike engagement. Green screen. Viral sounds. Trending formats. Every element was designed to look, sound and feel like native content.

#CancelPizza content was absurd, but it had a clear message: if people want to cancel MSG, the science says they should #CancelPizza too. Within every video were facts proving MSG is found naturally in pizza toppings. If viewers didn鈥檛 understand, Ajinomoto deployed credible influencers to reply via Stitch or Duet underscoring the scientific accuracy.

At the same time, influencers and Ajinomoto revealed our role, explaining why we went to such lengths to educate TikTok about MSG.

THE OUTCOME

The campaign went viral with over 42M+ hashtag views. They all came for the conspiracy, and left with a new understanding of what MSG really is: simply sodium and glutamate. There was a 5000% increase in Google searches for 鈥業s MSG Healthy?,鈥 bringing Gen Z to understand that MSG is a safe ingredient.

In 12 weeks the campaign garnered 2.05B impressions across the U.S., generating positive conversation, changing 5M Gen Z consumer minds and driving a 5.7% increase in sales.

39%

lift in MSG favourability

65%

lift in brand trust

48.4k

social engagements

AWARDS

Cannes Lions 2024

Category: Social & Influencer 
Sub-Category: Consumer Goods 
Prize: Bronze