FOOD & DRINK CAMPAIGN: How one little piggy trotted to market

Concern about the state of British pig farming led Yorkshire sausage firm Debbie & Andrew's to nominate Farm Crisis Network as its chosen charity for 2008.

Pork in boots: Cinders the welly-clad piglet
Pork in boots: Cinders the welly-clad piglet

Campaign Debbie & Andrew's welly-wearing pig
Client Debbie & Andrew's
PR team Intelligent Profile
Timescale January-July 2008
Budget £21,000 (part of a retainer)

The charity offers support to farmers dealing with problems such as financial pressures caused by increases in feed prices.

To publicise its involvement in the network, founders Debbie and Andrew Keeble asked the firm's retained PR agency Intelligent Profile to create a campaign that would appeal to both politicians and the general public.

-- To position Debbie & Andrew's as a champion of British farmers and promote its involvement with the Farm Crisis Network.
-- To drive sales of Debbie & Andrew's products and raise awareness of the brand among the UK public.

Strategy and plan
Intelligent Profile decided to create a campaign involving both lobbying and PR stunts to appeal to as wide an audience as possible. Many of the PR stunts centred around the branding of a Wellington boot used by Debbie & Andrew's. This included staging welly-throwing fundraising events, known as ‘welly wanging', at UK country shows and fairs.

Debbie and Andrew KeebleWhile it was anticipated that this would appeal to regional, local and farming media, Intelligent Profile linked up with Leeds-based photography agency Ross Parry to find a national angle to these welly-themed events.

After discovering that a piglet on Debbie and Andrew's own pig farm was reluctant to walk in the mud, a photoshoot was created in which the animal, called Cinders, was put in wellies and shown walking across a muddy field. The photo was distributed to the national print and broadcast media.

Even though it was largely a photo story, national radio was also approached with the angle that wellies had helped a pig to walk in mud. Other activity, aimed specifically at politicians, involved direct lobbying of MPs, including leading agriculture spok­espeople from the three main parties.

Measurement and evaluation
The pig-in-wellies photo, released on 10 June, attracted global and national media interest, and was covered by 25 regional and national radio stations, including Radio 1 and Five Live. It also featured on CBBC's Newsround as well as in reports by ten foreign and global broadcasters, including ABC News, both in the US and Australia.

According to evaluation carried out by Intelligent Profile, all coverage mentioned the key message that Debbie & Andrew's is raising awareness of issues facing pig farming, including low payments for their produce.

The Daily Mirror's article, headlined ‘Cinders, the porker who is as happy as a pig in shhh...oes' on 11 June was typical of the coverage.

Debbie and Andrew Keeble also appeared on specialist farming programmes as experts on pig farming, such as BBC TV's Country File and BBC Radio 4's Farming Today.

The Keebles met Conservative shadow agriculture minister James Paice MP and Steve Webb MP, who holds the same role within the Liberal Democrats.

Following the piglet-in-wellies story, TNS data showed a growth of 81 per cent year on year and 57 per cent ahead of all competitors. The market share following the campaign is running at 3.5 per cent.There was a 30 per cent uplift in sales at Asda, Debbie & Andrew's stockist.

The Keebles have also been approached by the New York office of entertainment agency IMG World about representation. Channel Five has also filmed a documentary about the couple, and they are due to appear in a forthcoming issue of National Geographic magazine.

Molly Hooper
MD, Slam PR

I love this campaign. It is such a simple but genius idea, and is a brilliant example of using a highly creative image to appeal to both national and regional press. It also shows how to get key brand messages across in a humorous and memorable way.

With a small-ish budget, the Intelligent Profile team was able to target farming, local, national and even international press. I am guessing the campaign scored a huge return on investment.

Molly HooperThe broadcast and print coverage seems far-reaching, and I'm impressed the majority
of the media coverage hit the main campaign objective of highlighting the issues facing pig farmers, including low payments for their produce.

By lobbying the Government and creating an amusing PR stunt to run at the same time, both the serious and more light-hearted messages were shown to have come from Debbie and Andrew's sausage firm.

Creating a humorous story to relay a serious message can be a risk, but on this occasion this message's objective was met.

Furthermore, making celebrities out of Debbie and Andrew Keeble themselves adds strength to the overall campaign, and I am sure created an easy way in to political conversations.

My only suggestion would be to brand the online content and B-roll a little more to ensure more visually branded footage (both national and international).

But with a 30 per cent sales uplift as a direct campaign result, Intelligent Profile certainly [ahem] brought home the bacon.

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