Britvic CMO: ‘Spending money on digital is easy, it’s producing great content that’s hard’

This year is looking distinctly more digitally focused for Britvic, according to its CMO Matt Barwell. But when it comes to execution, strong creative concepts will remain at the heart of business.

Having launched a new £10 million Robinsons campaign, acquired Brazilian soft drinks company ebba and pushed its health agenda, Britvic’s CMO Matt Barwell had a busy 2015. And he says 2016 will be all about digital marketing.

He points to programmatic as a key area of interest after it launched campaigns for Robinsons last year. It is now looking to expand that strategy to more of its brands.

He told Marketing Week: “We did a few things that have been really positive for us. We linked Dunnhumby data to some of our digital campaigns, which allowed us to get very smart programmatically about how we target people and deliver our messaging. We did that over the summer with Robinsons and we’ll start to also drive that harder with Fruit Shoot this year.”

The drinks business is also keen to up its social media investment. Having launched ‘The Great Robinsons Ball Hunt’ on Twitter in June last year, which saw Britvic hide giant tennis balls across the country and invite consumers to find them for a chance to win prizes, Barwell says s the company will be placing a bigger focus on Facebook in 2016.

“We’ve had some real success on Facebook, as some of the results we’ve seen around Spritz and J2O have been really positive. We will be investing significantly more in digital in total and we’ll be looking at how we can use Facebook more fully,” he added.

The company’s digital spend is set to hit 25% of its overall advertising investment this year, but Barwell is keen to emphasise the importance of strong creative concepts.

“The key to success will be coming up with the right ideas. Spending money on digital is an easy thing to do, but having ideas that lend themselves to generating great content that you can then deploy on those digital channels is much harder,” he explained.

Learning from past mistakes

As part of its digital push, Britvic has also been trying out new platforms such as Instagram – but it hasn’t always got it right.

An Instagram ad featuring reality TV star Millie Mackintosh for its J2O brand was banned by the ASA last year for not being “obviously identifiable as an ad”. According to Barwell, the company has since tried to learn from its mistakes.

He explained: “As always, you need to learn from your mistakes, put in place the right controls and make sure that you’re staying the right side of the line. That’s not always easy in digital because it’s such a fast-moving environment. And when you’re creating lot of content, having the right approval processes can be challenging. So it’s important that we stay vigilant on that.”

Stronger visual identities

As technology offers new ways to communicate with consumers, Britvic is determined to be a part of it. The company’s CMO, however, believes that the proliferation of platforms will mean that brands will struggle to achieve cut through. As a result, he claims having a strong visual identity will become increasingly important for brands.

“When you’re interacting with brands across seven different touch points, having a consistent and coherent visual identity is going to be absolutely critical.”

Matt Barwell, CMO, Britvic

“One of the things we’re working on at the moment in Britvic is being clear on how our brands show up visually. Particularly in our sector, design in its broadest sense will really separate the winners and the losers. So you will see this great design come through when we relaunch Drench in spring this year,” he commented.

Driving internal changes

To ensure on-going success in 2016, Britvic is not only focusing on new digital platforms, but implementing wider changes within the organisation in a bid to change its employers’ mind sets.

“We’ve started to embed being focused on work and created a Britvic way of marketing called ‘Wow me’,” he explained.

“We’re doing this so we can start to engender a sense of top level growth, as part of a move where we’re going from being a great bottler that happens to be a brand owner, to being a great brand owner that happens to be a bottler as well.”

Latest from Marketing Week


Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now


Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.


From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.


Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3703 or email

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here