Weetabix ups ad spend by 46%

Breakfast cereal maker Weetabix is upping its UK advertising spend by 46% in 2012 to promote a raft of brand extensions as it looks to nab share from market leader Kellogg’s.


The British company is launching several extensions including chocolate and golden syrup Weetabix variants as well as Alpen-branded porridge.

The company also owns Ready Brek and Weetos, and makes cereal bars under its brand names.

Weetabix CEO Giles Turrell, a marketer who joined from Kimberly-Clark in October, says: “We feel confident in our innovations and new product ideas, and that we can grow ahead of the category.”

Weetabix’s marketing activity will mainly be in TV and other traditional media, and campaigns will highlight the products’ nutrition, taste and value.
Digital activity will follow a principle of “marketing in a digital age, not digital marketing”, Turrell says.

Weetabix plans to follow up its media spending with new pack designs in May to mark the brand’s 80th birthday. These will focus on the Britishness of the brand and its sourcing, timed to coincide with the Queen’s diamond jubilee celebrations.

UK growth is the first part of a three-pronged strategy, which also includes increasing revenues internationally and in the US, which is its second-biggest market.

Weetabix distributes its products in over 80 markets, with the UK accounting for 70% of its revenues. The company is targeting double-digit percentage growth in countries outside the UK, mainly through its Weetabix and Alpen brands.

“We have identified a handful of those that we want to grow consistently with how we are trying to grow Weetabix and Alpen in the UK, obviously starting from a much lower base,” says Turrell.

The increased marketing activity follows a £20 million investment in Weetabix’s factories in the UK and North America.

Owned by American private equity firm Lion Capital since 2004, Weetabix renegotiated its £900m debt late last year, subsequently bringing in Turrell as CEO.

Around 70 million Weetabix cereal biscuits are manufactured every week at its plant in Burton Latimer, Northamptonshire, while all its cereal crops come from local suppliers.

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