Biscuit, cake or… doughnut? Merging a Jaffa Cake and a doughnut is a food combination nobody asked for, but many have been tempted to try after seeing the brand’s outdoor advertising campaign.
In fact, the Jaffa Jonuts campaign is September’s most creatively effective out-of-home (OOH) ad, according to Kantar, thanks to its potential to drive both long- and short-term business impact.
Created by TBWA\London, with media planned and bought by Manning Gottlieb OMD, the tongue-in-cheek billboards ran across the UK. One execution featured a pointed innuendo: ‘When a Jaffa Cake and a donut love each other very much…’. Others imitated perfume ads, consumer technology ads and sportswear ads.
Each execution centres around an enormous image of the Jonut itself, with the Jaffa Jonut’s logo in the bottom right corner.
According to Kantar’s UK head of creative excellence, Lynne Deason, creating advertising that works with, not against the human brain is fundamental to success across all touchpoints, as the human brain is “lazy” and attention can be hard to earn.
This is particularly important in OOH contexts, she tells Marketing Week, as in some site locations dwell time can be very limited. Creative therefore needs to be easily understood, but without becoming “boring or dull”.
The Jaffa Jonuts campaign is a “great example” of how to succeed in this in practice, Deason says. “The ad focuses single-mindedly on bringing to life what a Jaffa Jonut is in an interesting and engaging way. The unashamed focus on the product is far from boring – it is found to be distinctive and involving.”
Eye tracking technology shows attention was drawn to three key visual elements in the ads: the ‘jam’ in the doughnut, the word ‘donut’ in the centre, and the brand name Jaffa Jonuts on the right-hand side. With the brand name central to viewer engagement, data from Kantar’s Marketplace scores the ad in the top 15% of all UK ads on branding.
Speaking to Marketing Week, McVitie’s Jaffa Cakes marketing manager, Sarah Babb, says “keeping it really simple” was a key focus for the team when creating the ad.
“We didn’t want to overcomplicate things. The product itself is what people are most engaged with. So we wanted to keep it really simple, and really hero the product and the distinctive brand assets that we’re building with the brand,” she explains.
That meant utilising the brand’s iconic blue and orange colouring, “dramatising” the product to drive appeal and intrigue, and being “playful” with the way it was brought to life through copy.
It was a sensible strategy to take. According to Kantar’s study, the distinctive Jaffa Cake colours and the brand’s sense of humour played an important role in making the ad immediately recognisable as part of the Jaffa family.
Produced in association with Marketing Week and the Advertising Association’s Trust Working Group, ‘The Works’ study asked 750 consumers what they thought of five of September’s top outdoor ads – 150 consumers per advert.
One participant said the orange and blue packaging meant they “instantly” knew it was a Jaffa Cake related campaign. Indeed, brand cues for the ad are in the top 10% in the UK.Mini UK’s Dogs Trust tie-up unveiled as August’s most effective cinema ad
“The integration of instantly recognisable visual brand assets and iconography in OOH ads not only helps people know which brand the ad is for, it also helps reinforce those mental associations that are connected to the brand so that they are triggered easily when the relevant purchase or usage occasion arises,” Kantar’s Deason explains.
“This visual coherence between OOH, packaging and other point of purchase materials can strengthen the impact of the advertising in this touchpoint.”
Another participant in the study said the ad shows the Jaffa Cake brand “has a sense of humour”, which was a key aim for the team behind the creative.
Babb says: “One of the things that we found really important when we were doing the creative was that we got the right tone and the playful tonality coming through.
“It plays back to what Jaffa Cakes has always been known for – being quite mischievous and quite playful. I think that really builds back into what the brand stands for, but then also what this product does for the brand and the proposition.”
Driving long- and short-term results
According to Babb, the Jonut was conceived to tap into new eating occasions and to excite “Jaffanatics”. Consumers are looking for more new ways to enjoy the brands and products they love, she says, and Jaffa Cakes didn’t want to be left behind.
“For some time we haven’t had a significant breakthrough in innovation on the brand. So we really wanted to bring something new to market that was going to excite fanatics but also help us tap into new occasions in these spaces,” she says. While Jaffa Cakes are eaten broadly across the day, Jonuts are more targeted at evening occasions and lunchtime treat moments.
The hybrid proposition of the doughnut works particularly well for the Jaffa Cakes brand, Babb adds, because it has been playing into the debate of whether it is a cake or a biscuit since 1991. A court case between Her Majesty’s Customers and Excise and McVitie’s ruled at the time that a Jaffa Cake was in fact a cake and could therefore avoid VAT.
In February, the brand launched a new platform to play off this history: ‘Be what you want to be’. The Jonut launch was designed to build further on that proposition, and the response from consumers has been “really positive”, Babb says.
The aim of the launch ad campaign was therefore primarily around building awareness and appeal to drive product trial.
According to Kantar, the creative is likely to be “very powerful” in generating this short-term sales uplift. With a persuasion score in the top 15% of all UK ads and credibility in the top 25%, the ad scores in the top 20% of ads for its short-term potential.
And indeed, Babb says the brand has seen an uplift in sales through September and October when the ad was live, building on an already “really successful” product launch.
Longer term, Kantar expects that while product experience will be key to sustaining sales, the ad has strong potential to contribute towards longer-term success for the brand.
Deason explains: “The ad is playing its role in building salience for the brand and primarily a sense of differentiation, while also building warmth towards the brand and a feeling that it meets needs.”
Navigating HFSS restrictions
Asked why McVitie’s focused on outdoor advertising for its campaign, Babb says it saw OOH as the space that was going to be “most impactful” for a campaign it wanted to be “very visual”.
“We wanted to just hero and dramatise the product,” Babb says. “[OOH] allowed us to be very single minded and very visually driven, to drive the visual appeal and those brand assets.”
With new TV and digital advertising restrictions on high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) foods looming, the Jonuts campaign is also a “great example” of how brands affected by the regulations can continue to launch new innovations elsewhere, Kantar’s Deason adds.
“Brands that experiment now and master how to use other channels effectively in a way that is coherent with the brand’s essence and reaches and resonates with key audiences will gain competitive advantage,” she says.
Babb also expects that Jaffa Cakes will use OOH more moving forward, and is hoping to build in some more creative, experiential elements as well. For example, with this campaign the brand planted giant Jonut statues in three cities across the UK.
“That out-of-home experience and physical reach is really interesting for us and with the restrictions coming out I do certainly see it as something we’ll continue to build on,” she concludes.