CAMPAIGN: Nexus gives biscuits a classic crunchy edge

In January 2007, McVitie’s launched an integrated communications campaign aimed at re-engaging consumers with its core range of biscuits – Milk Chocolate Digestives and HobNobs.

Campaign: ‘Share the Goodness'
Client: McVitie's
PR Team: Nexus Communications
Timescale: 1-8 March 2007
Budget: £20,000

McVitie’s briefed its retained PR agency, Nexus Communications, to support direct marketing activities and a £2m poster campaign, conveying the fact that McVitie’s products are made from 100 per cent UK wheat and oats.

The key message was ‘Share the Goodness’ – a quote from the strapline devised by ad agency Publicis.

Objectives
To raise awareness of the McVitie’s brand and its range of biscuits. To support and amplify the advertising message ‘Share the Goodness’ by promoting the natural British ingredients used by the company in its products.

Strategy and plan
The focus was McVitie’s Milk Chocolate Digestives. Nexus echoed the visual images of the poster campaign with an art installation. Playing on the biscuit manufacturer’s status as an iconic British brand, the team commissioned props com­pany Dynamic 3 to create two giant bales of wheat that resembled packets of McVitie’s Milk Chocolate Digestives. The sculptures were made using real wheat and were covered in giant Milk Chocolate Digestives wrap­pers. The 5ft-tall bales were designed to create a talking point for the public and secure both print and broadcast interest from the media.

To add authority to the installation, artist, sculptor and lecturer Paul ­Eugene Riley was employed as creator and spokesperson and was briefed to communicate McVitie’s key messages.

The art exhibition, entitled ‘Material Ode to Digestive’, targeted three UK cities – Leeds, Birmingham and Bristol – to deliver national impact. Positioning the sculptures in key city centre ­locations meant the natural ingredients, reminiscent of the countryside, could be placed on an industrial background, adding to the story.

The dates of activities were scheduled to coincide with the ‘Share the Goodness’ poster campaign on 1, 6 and 8 March. A photocall for press and broadcast media was held with the artist available for pictures and interviews throughout each day.

Measurement and evaluation
The campaign resulted in strong regional print coverage in each city’s major newspapers, including the Birmingham Mail, Birmingham Post, Bristol Evening Post and Yorkshire Evening Post. Broadcast coverage highlights included feature interviews on BBC Radio West Midlands and GWR in Bristol, plus news ‘shorts’ throughout the day.

Results
From February to March 2007, sales of McVitie’s Milk Chocolate Digestives were up nine per cent compared with the same period last year.

Marcus Queenborough, deputy picture editor at Birmingham Post & Mail – which ran a picture diary story on the sculptures, says: ‘It was something unusual and wacky in the city centre which we chose to cover in the hope of raising an eyebrow from our readers.’

He adds that the PR team provided information and access to Paul Eugene Riley and that the installation was appealing. ‘PR companies have to come up with increasingly interesting ideas. Chocolate digestives are a favourite with every­body, so the art was a centre of attention.’

 

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