Walkers is hoping to provide the nation with some “light relief” this year with the launch of its Christmas campaign.
The brand went big last year with a festive campaign starring Mariah Carey. But it felt that due to Covid-19 it was not appropriate to have a “big splash on celebrity” this year.
Walker’s senior marketing director, Fernando Kahane, tells Marketing Week: “What the nation needs is a bit of levity and light relief. We don’t think it’s appropriate to give a big splash on media or a big splash on celebrity.”
Walkers campaign, created by ELVIS, this year features YouTube star LadBaby, who became famous last year for swapping the words of popular songs with “sausage roll”. In the ad, he goes door-to-door singing Christmas carols about the power of sausage rolls to celebrities including Aled Jones, East 17’s Tony Mortimer and Gary Lineker.
LadBaby’s inclusion in the campaign comes after he called out Carey’s role in Walkers’ Christmas campaign last year and said he wanted the gig. This year, Walkers has brought him on board to launch a limited-edition sausage roll-flavoured festive crisp.
The campaign also has a charitable angle, with 5p from every pack sold donated to the Trussell Trust, a charity aiming to end hunger and poverty in the UK. That adds to the £1m in support the brand pledged to the charity earlier in the year.
“We tried to create a feel good ad and use it as a force for good. Let’s be a bit silly and playful its what we need now after a challenging year,” Kahane says.
The brand carried out no research prior to the launch of the ad in order to remain “authentic” to LadBaby’s voice and audience.
“It gave us the opportunity to do some good with our creative. The nation loves sausage rolls and loves LadBaby, so we thought why not connect and add a tasty idea to our new Christmas ad,” Kahane explains.
Walkers had planned the Christmas ad with LadBaby before Covid-19 but says the pandemic “highlighted the necessity of the important cause of the charity”.
Still, the decision to run a lower profile campaign this year has been difficult. The Carey ad last year gave the brand “massive memorability”, with its 2% share of voice “increased significantly” thanks to the campaign.
However, the crisps maker also discovered that social media gave it better ROI, and so it has tripled its digital investment for 2020’s ad.
“We said this year we can do a bigger media investment. We are driving the same reach of 80% that we had with TV last year.”