Reverse Engineer a Social Media Brand: Lean Cuisine’s Social Media Channels

#myoneyearchallenge, COMM 315, Lean Cuisine, REP Reverse Engineer Post, Social Media, Social Media campaign, Social Media Marketing / Monday, February 5th, 2018

I chose to review Lean Cuisine’s social media branding because I am relying heavily on their product as part of #myoneyearchallenge

This reverse engineering of a brand’s social media channels is part of an assignment for my BYU-I COMM 315 class.

Lean Cuisine Facebook header

Brand Design Strengths:

Consistency is Lean Cuisine’s greatest strength. On every social media channel, Lean Cuisine’s orange logo is prominently positioned, the colors in the images are consistent, with a dark background, featuring the new packaging and the food in browns, rusts and green, fully cooked and on a plate, ready to be eaten. The images of the food are beautifully staged to create desire to taste the food.

Brand Design Weaknesses: Lean Cuisine logo

A major weakness of Lean Cuisine’s brand strategy is the logo design. I eat Lean Cuisine meals once or twice daily and did not recognize the logo. In fact, I went to my freezer to see for myself if the logo was truly on all the packaging. Although it is supposed to be an artistic “L” and “C” connected, it does not register as such at a glance, is not memorable, and therefore is not a good representative of the brand.

What is the brand trying to accomplish with its design?

I believe the main object of the brand’s design is to entice potential customers into buying their meals by convincing them that Lean Cuisine meals are as tasty as home cooked meals, and to interest current buyers to try their newest selections. Lean Cuisine accomplishes this through food styling and beautiful photography on each package, paired with images of food on plates ready to eat that are featured on each social media channel.

What fundamentals of design has the brand used?


Although each social media channel is laid out differently, the individual elements in Lean Cuisine’s photographs are organized and placed intentionally to draw the eye across the page and end at the packaging.


Each element within the photograph and the placement of the logo comes together to create a consistent story on the different social media channels.


Contrast is one of Lean Cuisine’s campaign strengths. The logo and Lean Cuisine name are in orange on a black background, and the white letters on black are easy to read and brand the look of the packaging in buyer’s minds.

Lean Cuisine meal and packagingLines:

The positioning of the ingredients, cooked product and glass of water in the food images draw the eye across the page and end with the packaging.

Rule of Thirds:

The Rule of Thirds is employed in the top photograph on Lean Cuisine’s website homepage and on the cover images of their YouTube channel, but it is not used on other channels. Part of this is because they have cropped the same image to use throughout, which is a weakness in some images.

What metrics (likes, shares, re-tweets, etc.) will be used to determine if the brand is successful?

In the end, the success of Lean Cuisine’s social media channels is whether revenue for the brand increases. In reviewing their followers, likes and shares, I do not believe they are running a successful campaign. Lean Cuisine’s YouTube channel, which features their commercials and a series of videos with chefs has only 3561 subscribers, and the most-watched video, at 1.2million views, is two years old. These channels are a perfect place for Lean Cuisine to offer “how to” cooking, nutrition and exercise videos, that could also be shared on other channels.

Another lost opportunity is their Pinterest board. This is a channel where food is one of the highest shares. Lean Cuisine’s Pinterest board has only 3404 followers—that is embarrassing for a national brand, particularly one that is a food product. Instagram is another failed opportunity with only 8524 followers. Oddly, Lean Cuisine’s most successful social media channel is Twitter.

I believe there are many missed opportunities for Lean Cuisine to connect with their core audience and to entice new customers to try their product.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with my analysis of Lean Cuisine’s social media channels?

3 Replies to “Reverse Engineer a Social Media Brand: Lean Cuisine’s Social Media Channels”

  1. Tanja, another strength I believe this branding has is the way they use contrast. I feel they are using it to their advantage. They have a very bright color for their logo and the meals are so colorful that they look great against that black background. As for the logo, I found that was something the branding I looked at failed at too. I pointed out the same flaws, not rememberable. For your lines area, I think that has a pattern of an up, down, up, down. That like you say draw my eye to an easy to follow the path.

    1. Hey Bethsaida, Excellent point about the contrast–Lean Cuisine packaging and social media channel headers do a good job of using contrast. I think this was much improved when the moved from packaging with a white background to black–it made the food images and the orange logo/name pop. However, the logo itself, is not working–it does not help with brand recognition.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting. Tanja

  2. Tanja, great analysis! I totally agree with your thoughts on their logo. I have never thought about the Lean Cuisine logo but your thoughts are spot on. I like the idea behind the L and C, but it isn’t very memorable. Reading your analysis on the logo got me to rethink my logo ideas, I need to make them more memorable. Although Lean Cuisine’s logo may have weaknesses I do think that they are consistent in their design. What did you learn from this analysis that you can use for this project?

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