United Biscuits unveils marketing strategy to ‘modernise’ biscuit brands

United Biscuits is moving all its sweet biscuits under the McVitie’s banner and rebranding savoury brands such as Mini Cheddars as Jacob’s in a multi-million effort to “modernize” its ranges.

United Biscuits will house all its sweet biscuits under the McVities brand from 2014.

Brands previously under the Jacob’s masterbrand including Iced Gems and Club will be brought into the McVitie’s portfolio from early next year. Similarly, the food maker is pulling savoury products such as Cheddars and Mini Cheddars from McVitie’s into the Jacob’s range.

The biscuit maker will introduce new packaging across the McVitie’s range to support the swap, which will be promoted through a £12m “brand new approach to advertising” created in partnership with Grey London. It is the brand’s biggest campaign to date and will see new McVitie’s Chocolate & Orange Digestive and the returning McVitie’s Chocolate & Orange Digestives front promotions.

Sarah Heynen, marketing director of sweet biscuits at UBUK, says upcoming activity will push the McVitie’s biscuits into “new occasions” through an “integrated programme of marketing initiatives”. The overhaul is aimed at growing McVitie’s, which UB says is worth around  £400m, to £600m over the next five years.

It follows NPD investments from Mondelez, Kellogg’s and Hovis over the last 12 months to exploit increased snacking across Europe.

Heynen adds: ”Biscuits are already an intrinsic part of our daily lives but we know there is a huge opportunity to grow the category even further by adding more excitement into the category. A by harnessing the power of the McVitie’s brand, we will modernise and grow the category, unlocking new occasions and driving fresh interest in biscuits and sales for retailers as a result.”

The move comes amid the group’s restructuring drive, which was launched in September, to create a more streamline business. Earlier this year, it sold off its KP Snacks unit for a reported £500m.

The announcement follow the appointment of former Birds Eye boss Martin Glenn as its chief executive in April.



2013: The year in Food and Drink

Seb Joseph

It has been an eventful 2013 for food and drink advertisers as the rise of the discerning customer pushed provenance to the top of many marketing agendas. From the social media juggernaut that was Coke’s “Share a bottle” campaign to drinks makers imbuing their products with heritage, here are Marketing Week’s pick of the year’s highlights.