Video: Jacob’s “Snack Happy” TV advert
The baker says the “ambitious” 2016 sales target is possible due to the “pretty successful” performance of the Jacob’s brand in recent years without much promotional support. It is putting £10m towards accelerating the trend in 2014, dwarfing its total marketing outlay for Jacob’s over the last decade, it adds.
The investment funds a Publicis-created campaign launching today (2 April) to tie its biscuits to everyday snacking moments. A TV ad introduces the “Jacob the Baker” character, inspired by a real-life employee, alongside its “Snack Happy” strapline. Ads will initially hero one product such as Mini Cheddars or Crispbreads, however United Biscuits did not rule out future campaigns promoting all its savoury products at the same time.
The food maker is hoping to convince shoppers its biscuits are healthier snacking alternatives to be eaten alone rather than with ham, cheese or other toppings. It comes after the business pulled learnings from the US and Australia, where the savoury biscuit categories are growing at a faster rate.
Ted Linehan, United Biscuits savoury biscuits marketing director, who joined the business at the start of the year from Kellogg’s, told Marketing Week the initial phase of the strategy was focused on driving awareness. Future initiatives, particularly through its social and shopper marketing channels, aim to deliver long-term growth.
Linehan adds: “We’re using the campaign to present our passion for baking to consumers in an interesting and modern way. We don’t feel the need to push a very strong health message because people will get that link from the fact we’re talking about baking.
“We looked at what’s been accomplished in other countries and can see a real growth opportunity here in the UK. Around 18 per cent of biscuits sold in the country are savoury biscuits. In Australia that number is 40 per cent and in the US it’s 45 per cent. [Savoury biscuits] is one of the UK’s fastest growing food snacking categories and we believe we can drive exponential growth.”
The business is rebranding its savoury products such as Mini Cheddars as Jacob’s to support the sales drive. It announced the overhaul last November and expects to complete the process by the end of the year. Tuc biscuits and premium range Carrs Crackers remain outside the Jacob’s master brand.
It is hoped shoppers take to the campaign in the same way they have greeted the quirky, Grey London-created effort for its sister McVitie’s brand. Since it launched in February, United Biscuits says McVitie’s growth has been in the “high singular digits”, with demand stretching beyond those products featured in the ad to the whole of its sweet biscuit portfolio.
Linehan says McVitie’s share of the total sweet biscuit category “crossed the 30 per cent” mark for the first time 11 weeks after it introduced new packaging for brands such as Jaffa Cakes. The move kicked off plans to bring all United Biscuits’ sweet variants under the McVitie’s umbrella.
The changes are overseen by former Birds Eye boss and Marketing Society president Martin Glenn, who became chief executive in April 2013.