Voting - Finn Communications - Pancakes make Brits flip

A campaign incorporating GMTV, students unions and a celeb chef helped bring back the Findus Crispy Pancake.

Voting - Finn Communications - Pancakes make Brits flip
Voting - Finn Communications - Pancakes make Brits flip

Campaign: Crispy Pancakes are Back!
Client: Findus
PR team: Finn Communications
Timescale: November 2009-March 2010
Budget: £50,000

Findus Crispy Pancakes were an iconic snack in the 1970s and 1980s. After stories in the media about Britons turning to comfort food throughout 2009, GMTV ran an online poll asking the public to nominate their favourite nostalgic treat.

Objectives

- To use the GMTV poll to rekindle interest in the pancakes.

Strategy and plan

Finn sent pancakes to the GMTV studio and social media channels were used to encourage people to vote for the pancakes on the GMTV website. The agency released the results to national media and toured student unions with pancake samples. A microsite was created so people could vote for the return of the chicken curry variant of the pancakes. National media reported on the company's pledge to relaunch the product if it received 3,000 votes on the site. The PR team also worked with Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall to develop gourmet versions for his River Cottage show on Channel 4. Three new variants - Lobster Thermidor, Moroccan Tagine and Goats Cheese & Butternut Squash - were then launched into retailers.

Measurement and evaluation

Findus Crispy Pancakes were voted the number one nostalgic snack on the GMTV poll. The campaign's Facebook page gained 1,366 fans. The story was covered in national and broadcast media.

Results

Pancake sales increased by 150 per cent in the week after the activity. A survey of Facebook fans revealed 53 per cent had purchased Findus products after seeing the campaign.

The chicken curry product was relaunched after the microsite attracted 5,000 votes.

HINDSIGHT

Richard Rawlins, Managing director, Finn Communications

The campaign is a great example of the power of PR to generate a measurable commercial benefit for clients. It demonstrates the relevance of PR to modern marketing comms. We were able to react quickly to the emerging trend of comfort eating, demonstrate that the brand had the right to take part, and then use the power of consumers, influencers and the media to really drive engagement and word of mouth, leading to a dramatic upswing in sales.

The client asked that we react to the brief and make something happen in less than a week. Within that time we'd set up social media channels and created a sampling and experiential tour.

Then GMTV really accelerated the opportunity, creating a poll to find viewers' favourite retro brands. By leveraging social media channels, we ensured Findus won, and then used good old-fashioned media relations to amplify it beyond social media.

Great campaigns generate their own momentum as consumers, the media and influencers take the story and run. This was exactly what happened with Findus Crispy Pancakes. We set in chain an organic self-generating story, culminating in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recreating the Crispy Pancake in a positive and reverent way on his River Cottage TV show.

With no other comms, the brand enjoyed a 703 per cent increase in value sales and 685 per cent increase in volume in the three months after the campaign. The client saw a whopping 700 per cent ROI based on AVE alone.

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