Ferrero commits £4.9m to Thorntons media push ahead of relaunch

A year on from its acquisition of Thorntons, confectionery group Ferrero is prepping the brand’s first TV ad for seven years to support the relaunch of the chocolate retailer.

Confectionery group Ferrero is to invest £4.9m in media spend to promote the relaunch of high street chocolate retailer Thorntons, a year since acquiring the company in August 2015. Thorntons will screen its first TV advert for six years on 4 November, running for six weeks as part of its 2016 festive campaign. Ferrero expects the advert to reach 30 million people within the first two days.

Ferrero UK customer development director, Levi Boorer, acknowledges the challenges surrounding the Thorntons brand, which before the acquisition was “commoditised” and characterised by “frequent deep-cut promotions”, creating an old fashioned perception among some consumers.

As a result the campaign will refocus on craftsmanship and building an emotional connection with customers, as well as appealing to younger consumers who might not previously have shopped at Thorntons. Boorer is confident an above the line investment is the right strategy to drive the Thorntons brand forward.

“Our model has proven over the past 50 years that investing above the line with unique products and creating strong consumer demand gives retailers a fantastic platform to sell the product, which means they rely less on heavy discounting and some of the challenges around clearance,” Boorer explains.

“We believe we can create enough pull to allow our retailers to sell our products without relying too much on deep discounting.”

Sampling push at Christmas

In the run up to Christmas, Ferrero will also invest heavily in sampling across its Nutella, Ferrero Rocher, Rafaello and Thorntons brands, a key form of experiential marketing the business believes builds repeat purchase.

November will also see the first screening of a dedicated TV advert for Rafaello, Ferrero’s almond, coconut and cream confectionery line, which has been in the company portfolio since 2005. Following the brand’s successful launch in Ireland for Christmas 2015, Ferrero decided to invest £3m in Rafaello’s first UK above the line campaign.

“We chose to dial up the brand once we had established a fairly consistent level of distribution. We could easily have gone earlier, but we chose not to based on our current distribution levels and opportunity to advertise,” says Boorer.

“It’s a huge bet for Ferrero, but it’s a brand we know is fantastic in terms of its taste delivery and it has a track record overseas. We believe that investing in TV and in-store gives us a great opportunity to bring younger consumers into the category,”

Re-brand to target millennials

In September, Ferrero will also tease the relaunch of its Tic Tac sweets, investing an additional £1.2m in an above the line campaign designed to grow brand awareness. The aim is to reach 89% of the target millennial audience, who are expected to see the campaign 11 times a year, three times more than in 2015.

The Tic Tac TV campaign will go live in January 2017, spanning 50, 10 second videos. Boorer explains the strong focus on seeding through digital and online, engaging with user generated content.

“Our Tic Tac campaign is very different to our traditional approach of being very heavy on TV, sampling, press and cinema, but significantly focused on TV. We understand that the generation that consumes Tic Tac is more digitally savvy and spend more time looking at digital devices.”

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