Speaking at BITE, an event organised by Creativebrief, client and agency partnership teams from Paddy Power and Lucky Generals, Johnnie Walker and Anomaly and Fitness First and The Clearing discussed how they managed major changes in their marketing strategy.
Early this year Fitness First underwent a rebrand to focus on the premium fitness market in an effort to make people see the brand differently.
David Langridge, group marketing director for Fitness First, said, “We needed to do something radical, but there had to be a good reason to be bold.”
He claims that the biggest challenge was stakeholder management.
“It’s all about having a clear, simple message, research to back it up and strong relationships,” he said, also stressing the importance of having a strong leader such as Fitness First CEO Andy Cosslett.
“The best brands are built from the inside out and from the bottom up,” Langridge says. “Internal communication has been more important than external. You need honesty, integrity and strong relationships within an organisation.”
In July, Johnnie Walker launched a short film starring Jude Law titled “The Gentleman’s Wager” to promote its Blue Label brand. Speaking on the bold move to use film-style advertising, Johnny Vulkan of Anomaly said, “You need smart people, mutual trust, resilience and thick skin.”
Vulkan also says that productive arguments are the way forward, claiming that he’s only seen three written briefs throughout his 10 years in the business.
Paddy Power, who launched a campaign in 2013 encouraging footballs to wear rainbow laces in support of gay players, are not afraid to take chances, and through their campaign became comfortable with sharing ownership of the brand.
Chris Nunn, media manager at Paddy Power, said, “We’re happy to let go of Paddy Power’s ownership on any rainbow lace advert,” adding that the most important aspect of the campaign is awareness of the issue.
“Over the next few years we’d be happy for other bookies to get on board.”
Strategy does appear to be paying off, as Fitness First presented data that showed revenue at the 19 UK rebranded clubs has risen between 5% and 15%, representing the first growth in UK membership since 2009. New joiners were also up 5.7% and member retention increased by 5.1%.
For Johnnie Walker, “The Gentleman’s Wager” reached 28 million views in its first two weeks. While Heineken previously held the record performance, the short film exceeded the beer brand’s view count by 700%, the clicks by 2,033% and the shares by 2,049%.
Almost half of all views, likes, shares, comments and tweets about alcohol brands in the first two weeks were also for Johnnie Walker, while the campaign resulted in an average view duration that was 2.3 times the average for online video.