McCain Foods Limited
Frozen Pizza Targets Teens1
McCain Foods Limited is one of the most recognizable and popular brand names. This
company was founded in Florenceville, New Brunswick, in 1957, and today it is the
world’s leading producer of French fries and various frozen food items.
One of McCain’s most well-known and well-liked frozen food product is its frozen pizza.
In 1998, McCain introduced Crescendo Rising Crust Pizza, its first rising crust pizza. The
concept of a rising crust pizza was developed in order to replicate as much as possible the
taste and look of takeout pizza. However, sales for this pizza were not as McCain
originally anticipated. This was due to the fact that just a few months after the Crescendo
introduction, Kraft introduced its Delissio frozen pizza, and with extensive advertising,
Delissio became the brand leader while McCain’s Crescendo followed in second place.
In 2004, McCain’s research experts concluded that the main reason for Crescendo’s
lagging leadership in its field was its lack of appeal and absence of a “cool factor” with
the teenage market. Teenagers were not able to relate to the Crescendo Rising Crust Pizza
because they did not see it as a cool and trendy product. As such, McCain needed to
change its image in order to attract the important teenage market. Research conducted in
the year 2000 found that 66% of teenagers purchase a product that reflects their style and
image as “hip” and trendy; therefore portraying Crescendo as “cool” would make the
product more desirable to teens. At the time, McCain was focused on attracting teens,
since research showed that they represented a significant growth factor in the food
product industry and were the main consumers of frozen pizzas.
In order for McCain to attract teens, it had to change its advertising strategy. The first
change that McCain made was to introduce more creative advertisements specifically
targeted at the teenage population. These advertisements included “The Tan Lines”
campaign. This was a fun and innovative ad that focused on young people and how
intriguing Crescendo could be. The desired effect of the advertising was to capture
sufficient interest that in turn would distract the teenagers sufficiently and make them
unaware of anything else around them. Featuring young people in the advertisements was
very important to McCain so that the teenage population could easily relate to the
characters portrayed. Research also indicated that television was the most powerful form
of media; therefore McCain chose to advertise on both English and French channels.
McCain went even further and used outdoor billboards in busy areas such as Toronto,
Ottawa, Montreal, and Vancouver.
“Brand: McCain Crescendo Rising Crust Pizza,” Cassies 2005 Cases, 2005. Website for data source:
; “Looking for a Loyal Customer? Try Generation Y,” 2000. Website
for data source: ; “The Influence of Television on Children’s Gender Role
Socialization,” Witt, Susan D., 2000, Childhood Education Volume 76 No 5. Website for data source:
As a result of this research, McCain was able to launch its new advertisements in
December 2004. Its new ads were very successful. Within the first six months of the new
advertising campaign, McCain was able to double its sales goal of a 15% increase for the
Crescendo Rising Crust Pizza to a 34% year-over-year increase in ex-factory sales.
1. In the research process for McCain Foods Limited, many different numerical
questions were raised regarding advertising techniques and purchase patterns
among teenagers. In each of these areas, statistics, in particular hypothesis testing,
plays a central role. Using the case information and the concepts of hypothesis
testing, discuss the following:
a. The case information stated that 66% of teenagers purchase products that
reflect their style and image as being hip and trendy. How would you test the
appropriateness and validity of that percentage? In a test where 900 teens are
randomly selected across Canada, 625 state that they purchase products that
reflect their style and image as being hip and trendy. Test the claim made in
the case regarding the purchase of products by teenagers reflecting their style
and image. Assume normality.
b. Historically, it has been verified that 72% of all teens that ate frozen pizza
were girls. Due to apparent changes in gender tastes, it is believed that more
teen boys are now eating frozen pizzas. From a random sample of 653 teens
that eat frozen pizza, 513 are girls. Does this sample result provide sufficient
evidence to conclude that a higher proportion of teenage girls than before eat
frozen pizza? Assume normality.
2. The statistical mean can be used to measure various aspects of the teen market,
including amount spent, age of teenage consumers, etc. Use techniques presented
in class to analyze each of the following and discuss the results in the context of the
a. What is the average age of the teenage consumer of the Crescendo Rising
Crust Pizza? Suppose that initial beliefs indicate that the mean age is 15. Is
this figure really correct? To test whether it is, a researcher randomly
contacts 30 teenage consumers of Crescendo Rising Crust Pizza, with results
shown in the following output. Discuss the output in terms of a hypothesis
test to determine whether the mean age exceeds 15. Let a be 0.01. Assume
b. What is the average number of frozen pizzas that teens consume per year?
Suppose it is hypothesized that the figure is 37 pizzas per year. A researcher
who is knowledgeable of the teenage market claims that this figure is
excessive and is prepared to prove it is less. He randomly selects 20 teens,
has them keep a log of foods they eat for one year, and obtains the following
figures. Analyze the data using class techniques and an alpha of 0.05.
Assume that the number of frozen pizzas per end-user is normally
17 37 39 14
35 52 36 43
29 13 16 38
10 18 11 29
23 45 33 58