Client: Derwent Valley Foods
PR Team: Lawson Dodd Communications Management and in-house marketing
Campaign: Phileas Fogg Chicettas launch
Timescale: April-November 1995
Budget: pounds 20,000
The original Phileas Fogg brand was traditionally associated with spicy
exotic evening snacks to accompany alcoholic drinks. But the launch of
the Venetian-inspired Chicettas, handled by Derwent Valley Food’s
retained agency Lawson Dodd Communications Management, marked a change
for the company in terms of its marketing strategy.
A daytime corn-based snack, available in two milder flavours - Four
Cheeses and Tomato and Basil - the new Chicettas were designed to appeal
to a wider audience.
To introduce the Phileas Fogg brand’s first daytime snack to consumers
and the trade and establish a clear product identity without alienating
existing Phileas Fogg customers.
One of the primary objectives of the launch was to generate widescale
sampling of the product. To this end, the University Boat Race on 1
April was seen as a high-profile and easily accessible opportunity to
hand out free packets of Chicettas to the crowds.
However, in order to reach Phileas Fogg’s target market of ‘educated
taste leaders’ - 25 to 44 year olds whose leisure pursuits include
dining out and travelling - the company decided to make its first major
sponsorship commitment, tying in sampling to a series of carefully
selected cultural sponsorships.
The sponsorship programme kicked off in June with a series of free lunch
time jazz concerts in the Royal Festival Hall foyer. The first of these
was used as launch pad for an advertising campaign based on Italian
paintings and sculptures.
To mark the advertising launch, Lawson Dodd arranged an event dubbed the
‘Medomsley Road, Consett Art Gallery’ at which performance artists
brought to life two poster advertisements featuring, among others,
Michelangelo’s David and a packet of Chicettas.
Further sponsorship was given to the National Trust and Performing Arts
outdoor concerts from July to September, and the Edinburgh and London
Film Festivals in August and November.
At all of these events, Phileas Fogg branded tasting stands were in
place and samplers handed out free packs of the product. Phileas Fogg’s
Chicettas were also the rather tongue in cheek ‘Official Snack’ of the
City of London Festival at the Broadgate Arena where the National
Theatre Company performed Around the World in 80 days.
The sponsorship of fringe arts events gained good coverage from
television, including slots on BBC North and Tyne Tees; national
newspapers including the Times and magazines such as GQ and Living, as
well as the trade press.
Derwent Valley Foods estimates that at least 150,000 people sampled the
snack and a further 350,000 were reached by literature surrounding the
sponsored events. In addition, since the launch, sales of Chicettas
have reached pounds 2.5 million, accounting for around ten percent of
the Phileas Fogg brand sales for that period.
A creative and humorous exploitation of a sponsorship and advertising
campaign and a carefully targeted product launch that appears to have
paid off - thanks in part to a helping hand from a remarkably good
However Sarah Burt, group product manager for the snack, says that if
she was given the chance again, she would extend the sampling of the
product beyond the boundaries of the sponsorship campaign to attract a
broader audience. For this year’s new product launches she is casting an
eye towards forging links with the BBC’s Good Food Show.