Pukka Pies tries to go ‘posh’ with rebrand

The pie brand wants to move on from its connotations with fish and chip shops and football fans and become a “family mealtime” brand.

Pukka Pies is unveiling a rebrand as well as a move into the premium market, as it admits it had previously “not properly supported the brand” with marketing.

The brand has launched an £8m marketing campaign to show off a complete brand relaunch – which includes updated recipes for its most popular pies, brighter packaging and a new brand positioning aimed at convincing mums to consider the brand for family meals.

The relaunch is part of an ambition to bring one million new consumers into the hot pie category and put pies in the top five meal occasions for families.

The launch campaign centres around the strapline ‘Everything’s Pukka’, highlighting that despite life’s ups and downs eating a hot pie will always be a comfort. The TV ad shows a busy mum sat at the dinner table confronted with her family’s everyday woes, allowing them to wash over her as she savours a Pukka Pie, telling her family, “don’t worry guys, everything’s pukka”. The campaign will also include outdoor, digital, social and in-store activity.

The brand is also moving into the premium sector, with a new ‘Posher Pukka’ selection. The range will include more “premium” ingredients, and includes the flavours chicken, leek and pancetta, steak and porter ale, and veggie tikka masala with chickpea and spinach.

You can buy it at football matches or as a treat on Fridays from fish and chips shops. It was important the marketing campaign focused more on family life.

Deborah Ewan, Pukka Pies

Pukka Pies CEO Deborah Ewan joined the business in September, but says the brand had been working on its overhaul since the start of the year. Despite the family-owned brand being the market leader in the hot pie category, she admits it had never put any investment into the brand, with its marketing and advertising spend, as well as investment in new innovations or reformulation of existing products, all minimal.

Despite this lack of investment, Pukka Pies seems to be performing well. According to IRI data to 10 September 2017, its sales grew by £3.4m or 14.6% year on year. Meanwhile, brand penetration is up from 14.2% to 16.2% for the same period, meaning it reached an extra 580,000 households.

Repositioning the brand

The brand hopes the £8m investment will accelerate its growth. It is also keen to move away from its image as being only for football fans and an occasional treat. Instead, it wants to be seen as a regular option for family meals.

“We’re a recognised brand, but we’re mainly seen as being in fish and chip shops. But in the last 10 years, we’ve managed to get some really good presence across all retailers. But by doing that, we’ve not supported the brand at all, either from an innovation point of view or above-the-line advertising,” Ewan tells Marketing Week.

“It was more about the repositioning of the brand as a homely family mealtime brand. You can buy it at football matches or as a treat on Fridays from fish and chips shops. Mums are buying it but not to the extent [we’d like] because of current brand perceptions. It was important the marketing campaign focused more on family life.”

While Pukka Pies wants to push the overeall brand, it also saw a gap in the market for a premium offering. Brand research showed there are three types of players in the hot pie market: cheaper own label options, “standard” pies such as Pukka Pies priced at around £1.50 and more premium offerings such as Higgidy at £3 and over that some consumers branded “inaccessible”. It hopes to undercut other premium brands with the Posher Pukka offering, which it prices at £2.50 a pie.

“It is important to us that consumers are getting value for money. We did a lot of development on our [premium] products, so when consumers tasted it they could taste the difference compared to others. Instead of standard gravy we use porter ale, and bigger chunks of carrot. It’s a real premium brand,” concludes Ewan.

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Comments
  • Lucy Whitmore 30 Oct 2017 at 9:42 am

    With rebranding – especially in this case – there is always difficulties as the product has often been represented in a much different light which can detract its current consumers.

    In regards to the Pukka rebrand, I personally have always seen it as a fish and chip shop dinner or a football match snack and although I do think the rebrand will help to attract a larger more sophisticated audience it may offend its current audience.

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