McVitie’s masterbrand campaign generates 87% ROI spike

United Biscuits is to become more experimental in how it markets McVitie’s brands on and offine as it dials up investment in the masterbrand after the first wave of activity for the brands in the portfolio delivered 87 per cent ROI on media spend. 

Video: Mcvitie’s Digestive Biscuits TV Ad

The biscuit maker hopes to inject modernity into products such as Digestives and Chocolate Digestives by identifying emerging channels and alternative media strategies. It plans to spend around 5 per cent of its marketing budget on “test and learn” projects to modernise its brands and compliment the 90 per cent and 10 per cent spent on mass-reach TV and digital advertising respectively.

Experimental initiatives will cover the breadth of the marketing mix with the manufacturer looking to rapidly upscale its “limited” knowledge in the digital arena. Learnings are being pulled from the Facebook and Twitter activity created for its “most socially engaging” Jaffa Cakes brand, which includes a “Mamerati-style” online community of advocates. Future digital gambles will prioritise its Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels alongside pushing the BN biscuit brand.

Sarah Heynen, marketing director for sweet biscuits at United Biscuits, says future plans need to be “cute” in terms of choosing what brands to digitise, because “Original Digestives are not going to get the same level response as Jaffa Cakes”. The biscuit maker performed a digital audit at the start of the year that resulted in it uniting several different brand pages under one site and investing more on homepage takeovers.

It is part of a wider push to reach a “utopian [marketing] level” the business claims will stretch future campaigns to radio and outdoor. To get closer to the objective, it plans to double investment in its £12m masterbrand Grey London-created campaign by the end of next year. United Biscuits launched the effort in February through a series of ads that tied the emotional feeling people get when they eat a biscuit to their love of animals.

Citing Nielsen data, United Biscuits says ROI is almost double (87 per cent) on the amounted invested in media to date. Brand awareness jumped to 95 per cent from 89 per cent while touch point awareness climbed to 35 per cent. United Biscuits hit around 27 per cent of the biscuits category at its peak this year and sales are currently up 1.3 per cent year-on-year in terms of sales percentage points, the business says. Return on media investment for its Chocolate Digestives brand jumped 92 per cent year-on-year in the eight weeks after the campaign, it adds. 

The campaign marked a major shift in United Biscuits marketing mindset, that saw it eschew its product-based, TV-focused approach for a more connected plan that could be activated at store level. McVitie’s, in partnership with GreyShopper London, created over 200 individual pieces of retail creative that went in to 20 different retail chains, its biggest shopper marketing campaign to date.

Heynen says the business now has a marketing blueprint for Mcvitie’s moving forward that will expand on the learnings, balancing short-term sales through heavy promotion with long-term brand equity.

“The key statistic for us is when you line up your TV with your in-store activation we see an incremental of 5 per cent sales on top of normal results”, adds Heynen. “Moving forward we’re spend more on TV because although we’re always on we could have a heavier weight [at certain times].”

Elsewhere, the business is extending its revamped marketing strategy to markets such as Northern Europe, Africa and China. The company generates around 15 per cent of sales from outside the UK but expects this to rise to 25 per cent in the long-term. United Biscuits’ chief executive Martin Glenn has revamped the operational side of the business since joining last year to accelerate the global ambitions of the company’s venture capitalist backers.