CAMPAIGNS: Crisis Management - Lexis assists Centura with Golly farewell

Client: Centura Foods

PR Team: Lexis PR

Campaign: Goodbye Golly

Timescale: May - August 2001

Budget: Part of retainer fees

Last August, Centura Foods decided to remove the trademark Golly from

its Robertson's packs and terminate its Golly Collector Scheme.

After 93 years as a brand icon, the food manufacturer felt Golly was no

longer relevant, and Robertson's faced complaints that the icon was

racist, and so replaced him with seven characters from the stories of

Roald Dahl.

To manage the changeover, Centura used its retained agency, Lexis



To draw attention away from the demise of Golly and focus on the new

brand icons. To prevent the story leaking.

Strategy and Plan

The PR team kept the announcement under wraps until launch day on 23

August, by developing a holding statement for the media and revealing

information on a need-to-know basis to Centura employees.

It was clear that the media would be more interested in Golly's demise

than in welcoming the likes of the Big Friendly Giant.

To turn the focus of journalists' enquiries to the opportunities

presented by working with the Roald Dahl Foundation, Lexis held media

training for Robertson's' national and regional spokespeople.

Research revealed that Golly was generally seen as a nostalgic figure by

adults and created little or no resonance with children.

However, the PR team was aware that Golly had some dedicated collectors

and was popular with Centura's employees at the Robertson's plant near


To tackle these two audiences, the PR team monitored the eight websites

dedicated to Golly and created an internal communications video-package

for staff.

Measurement and Evaluation

On 23 August, Centura achieved widespread broadcast coverage, with 21 TV

reports and 178 radio items.

The story was carried by the national, regional, marketing and

collectors' print media, with broadsheets making 20 visual references to

Golly and six to the new Dahl characters.


There were no leaks to the media and almost 90 per cent of the coverage

was balanced or positive.

Journalists on collectible magazine titles welcomed the change as many

felt children would be more able to identify with the Roald Dahl figures

than with Golly.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in