CAMPAIGNS: Wildcard puts weight behind chocolate puds - Trade/Consumer PR

Client: Gu Chocolate Puddings PR Team: Wildcard PR Campaign: Launch of Gu Timescale: January-November 2003 Budget: Around £10,000

Gu Chocolate Puddings was set up as at the start of 2003 by James Averdieck, who had spent eight years at dairy and desserts giant Uniq.

Averdieck formed a partnership with Rensow Patisserie in London to create the puddings, and asked Wildcard PR to come on board before the launch.

Objectives

To get Gu Chocolate Puddings listed with major supermarkets and drive sales. To build awareness of the company and the brand among retailers and consumers. To establish a high-quality, cool and quirky identity for the brand.

Strategy and Plan

Wildcard worked with the design team on the packaging for the puddings and striking photography in line with the brand messages. The PR team also developed a language of 'Gu-isms' to feature on packaging and PR materials.

Before the launch, samples of the puddings were sent to ten top food writers, including Nigella Lawson, newspaper food editors, the editor of BBC Good Food, and Chocolat author Joanne Harris. All came back with endorsements that were used in the company's sales pitches to supermarkets.

As soon as retailers had agreed to list the puddings, Wildcard set up an interview with Averdieck in industry title The Grocer, which also ran tastings.

Press releases, photography and samples went out to key food writers and editors for the consumer launch of three varieties of pudding, followed by an exclusive, sold-out event for readers of BBC Good Food in the London and Edinburgh Harvey Nichols food halls. Business publications were also targeted to raise the profile of the company and its founder.

Measurement and Evaluation

Coverage appeared in publications including Vogue, Ideal Home, BBC Good Food, Woman and Home and The Mail on Sunday. Averdieck was named as one of Real Business magazine's 'Fifty to Watch'.

Wildcard used its in-house measurement and evaluation system, which showed that stories about Gu reached a readership of more than 40 million, and all mentions were positive.

Results

Gu Chocolate Puddings were picked up by many major retailers, including Waitrose, Sainsbury's, Safeway and Asda. Sales have far exceeded expectations: the company has a turnover of £3m in its first year.

BBC Good Food editorial director Orlando Murrin said the magazine wrote about Gu because of the product's high quality. 'When the first Gu products arrived in the Good Food test kitchen we couldn't believe how good they were.'

Wildcard continues to work with Gu on the launch of further products.

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