CAMPAIGNS: Burgen changes the face of bread - Healthcare PR

Allied Bakeries has become the latest entrant to the functional foods market with the launch of Burgen Bread, a soya and linseed loaf. Functional foods contain biologically active elements which claim to deliver benefits beyond basic nutrition. Burgen Bread claims to provide a good source of plant oestrogens which research suggests can alleviate some symptoms of the menopause.

Allied Bakeries has become the latest entrant to the functional

foods market with the launch of Burgen Bread, a soya and linseed loaf.

Functional foods contain biologically active elements which claim to

deliver benefits beyond basic nutrition. Burgen Bread claims to provide

a good source of plant oestrogens which research suggests can alleviate

some symptoms of the menopause.



Requiring a specialist technical approach, Allied Bakeries appointed

Shandwick’s healthcare division to manage the UK launch.



Objectives



To communicate the benefits of plant oestrogens. And to promote Burgen

bread as a natural means of incorporating plant oestrogens into everyday

diet.



Tactics



Allied Bakeries briefed Shandwick to launch the product using a health

platform. A key challenge was to communicate complex research about the

benefits of plant oestrogens without making any health claims for the

bread itself. The agency decided on an educational campaign informing

consumers about plant oestrogens, followed by a brand campaign promoting

Burgen Bread.



Dr Ed Filmore, research director for Allied Bakeries and Maryon Stewart,

a nutritionist and director of the Women’s Nutritional Advisory Service,

were chosen as spokespeople for the educational campaign. To avoid

breaching government guidelines, all promotional literature was cleared

through Trading Standards.



On 15 September, Burgen Bread was launched to the media. Filmore and

Stewart took part in 50 press and broadcast interviews to explain the

benefits of plant oestrogens.



A telephone helpline featuring advice from a state registered dietician

provided the focus for the brand campaign. Author Jilly Cooper was

chosen to launch the helpline at a photocall on 3 November. According to

Shandwick Healthcare director Averill Gordon, Cooper was the ideal

choice because of her support for natural products.



To support the campaign, Shandwick prepared a booklet giving advice on a

natural approach to the menopause, which is being promoted through

reader offers in women’s magazines. Brand messages are being further

reinforced through a press advertising campaign.



Results



To date, the campaign has generated coverage in seven national and 24

regional titles. Broadcast coverage includes mentions on 14 TV and 47

radio programmes. Medical, marketing, consumer and grocery trade titles

have also covered the story. At the time of writing there have been

2,500 calls to the telephone helpline.



Verdict



Coverage indicates that the jury is still out on the potential health

risks of plant oestrogens. However the campaign can be credited with

raising awareness of the issues without damaging the product. According

to the Times medical columnist Dr Thomas Stuttaford: ’In so far as

they’ve got the bread talked about, they’ve done brilliantly. It’s an

interesting concept. But we are talking about a hormone which has a down

side as well as an up side.’



Allied Bakeries marketing director Frances Brindle seems surprised by

the reaction to the bread. ’We thought it was an interesting story - I

don’t think we could have anticipated how much coverage we got. It’s

early days in terms of sales but it looks encouraging - our customers

are reporting huge interest in the product.’



Client: Allied Bakeries

PR Team: Shandwick Communications

Campaign: Launch of Burgen Bread

Timescale: June - November 1997

Cost: Undisclosed



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