McVitie’s looks at expansion opportunities after hailing UK success

The launch of McVitie’s as United Biscuits’ sweet treats master brand has delivered impressive returns in the UK in 2014. The company is now hoping its recent acquisition by Turkish food manufacturer Yidiz Holding will help it replicate some of the success of its traditional British biscuits abroad.

United Biscuits has grown share with both its sweet and savoury biscuit brands this year, seeing its value share of the total biscuit market rise to 26% in September according to Nielsen stats cited by the company. Meanwhile, its biggest brand, McVitie’s Chocolate Digestive Biscuit, overtook Kit Kat last year, it says.

While reaching record market share in the biscuit category in the UK could make further domestic growth difficult, having recently been bought by Turkish food manufacturer Yidiz Holding, turning the company into the world’s third-largest biscuit manufacturer, United Biscuits now believes it has the potential to expand to other markets.

After the acquisition in November, Yildiz stated they hoped to grow United Biscuits to become a global player.

Sarah Heynen, marketing director for sweet biscuits, told Marketing Week, “The change of ownership gives us a footprint to expand globally. We have many great brands that I believe would travel well.”

Heynen was speaking at the launch of the new Christmas ad for the McVitie’s Victoria sweet biscuit selection.

The £1m 60-second spot, which will premiere 4 December on E4 and was created by Grey London, is an attempt to break from overly emotional Christmas ads through the use of an animal choir emerging from a box of McVitie’s Victoria.

The ad is the latest addition to the McVitie’s “Sweeet” advertising campaign, which launched in February of this year and involved a £12m investment in TV, digital, PR and in-store in an effort to place all of the company’s sweet products under the McVitie’s master brand.

The campaign has included ads for the McVitie’s Digestive and Chocolate Digestive biscuits as well as Jaffa Cakes and BN.

Heynen says the return on this investment, particularly for TV, has been above industry benchmarks and is higher than anything before for McVitie’s, surpassing the company’s expectations.

She says they will follow the “Sweeet” campaign into next year, with plans to add new McVitie’s brands to the platform and to increase media, PR and in-store investment by 30 to 40%.

While 10% of spend was on digital this year, Heynen also says this will be boosted to 15% moving forward.

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