'We redesigned the Bounty costume just three days before the shoot' – Behind the Campaign, 'Lonely Bounty'

Lora Martyr, creative director at Taylor Herring, gives the lowdown on the agency's recent festive campaign for Celebrations.

What was the campaign, in a nutshell?

A multi-phased campaign to drive consideration and sales of Celebrations tubs in the lead up to Christmas – tapping into the polarising taste profile of Bounty bars.

We launched with a festive ad featuring a Bounty bar searching for love (which he finds with an equally ostracised Brussels Sprout). This provided the launchpad for the Bounty Return Scheme – where consumers can exchange their unloved mini-Bounties for more popular Malteasers Teasers.

How did the idea come into being?

Mars’ data and social listening suggested the bottom of a Celebrations tub is often strewn with unwanted Bounties. Keen to find a solution to this torrent of chocolatey rejection, the Bounty Return Scheme was conceived.

However, for there to be any Bounties to return, tubs needed to be bought in the first place. So it was up to us to find a way to stand out in the most competitive market for assortment boxes.

At a time when love and joy are central to all messaging, to cut through, we decided to subvert those tropes. What better way than to focus on the most hated chocolate in the box, taking direct aim at famous Christmas scenes from popular culture?

What ideas were rejected?

We knew we wanted to create a parody Christmas ad, so the challenge here was narrative. Several concepts were proposed – from a support group for Bounty-lovers (not heartwarming enough); to an ‘All By Myself’ music video (copyright nightmare); to a day-in-the-life mockumentary (unnecessarily complicated).

Debate ensued about whether he should start off (or end up) in a Celebrations tub – how would he get out? Would everything around him need to be massive?

Budget decided: no.

Briefly describe the campaign planning and process

The timing of launch was key – too soon and festive press excitement wouldn’t have built; too late and no one would care. We kept a close eye on the media agenda, as well as conducting historical research into when other brands were most likely to go live.

To supercharge the social storm, 20 Bounty-only Celebrations tubs were created and delivered to a list of media contacts who had publicly expressed love (or hatred) for Bounties.

Working closely with the Mars in-house team throughout this campaign was key to its success.

What were the biggest challenges, and how did you overcome them?

The costumes needed to be ‘on the right side of home-made’ to convey an ‘underdog’ feel, while not looking too cheap, which was a difficult line to tread – in fact, we redesigned the Bounty costume just three days before the shoot because it wasn’t quite right. Not something recommended for anyone with a nervous disposition.

If you’re going to take a (loving) swipe at the much-heralded John Lewis adverts, the soundtrack is key. 1) It had to be sad enough to send up the fact that our hero was a grown man in a Bounty costume. 2) It needed a festive lilt. 3) We couldn’t afford huge copyright fees. Having looked high and low for the perfect music, we recorded our own version of In The Bleak Midwinter in the style synonymous with John Lewis.

How did you measure the results and what were they?

The campaign trended on Twitter all day, inspired primetime TV debates and radio phone-ins; generated millions of online views, and more than 250 editorial pieces.

We were named in Kantar’s top five most effective Christmas ads of 2021. Of the 24 shortlisted, we were the only one never on TV.

What's the biggest lesson you took away from the campaign?

That PR can go up against much higher budget ad campaigns and hold its own… but to do so, it must be relevant – and it must entertain.

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