Strategist who put Jacob’s biscuits top of list wins Marketer of the Year
Loretta Dignam, marketing director, Jacob Fruitfield, has been voted Marketer of the Year for her work on putting marketing back at the forefront of the company’s operations based on Jacob’s masterbrand - the four ‘pillar brands’ of Fig Rolls, Mallows, Cream Crackers and Elite - and in steering NPD plans.
Jacob Fruitfield’s research showed that the infamous slogan of “how do Jacob’s get the figs into Fig Rolls?” no longer motivated consumers. A new emphasis was developed focusing on Fig Rolls’ unique and great taste. The brand was relaunched with new packaging followed by the Taste Buds series of TV ads created by DDFH&B-JWT this time last year.
Loretta Dignam won Marketer of the Year for what the judges said was her ability to lead Jacob’s biscuits into profit, get the marketing fundamentals right and allow new product development as well as marketing communications contribute to the brand’s growth.
Like Fig Rolls, Jacob’s Mallows range (Kimberly, Mikado and Coconut Creams) were in decline. Research showed the brand was not relevant and consumers had no compelling reason to buy. Mallows were relaunched with the aim of making them a fun treat and using the ‘Playfully soft’ line to get people to buy again and motivate new consumers to purchase.
A campaign got underway to extend the appeal of Jacob’s Elite among females who see the biscuit as an indulgent, me-time treat. In April this year, Elite Chocolate Mikado was launched. On the NPD front, the curiously named Why Not? range hit the market. Listings were agreed in all four of the major multiples.
Dignam aims to build Jacob’s masterbrand by becoming a top five Irish grocery brand by 2015. Jacob’s fell out of the top ten last year as the Christmas range was de-listed by Tesco. Normal relations are now restored and Dignam is confident that Jacob’s will again be a serious contender.
This year, there were four Marketer of the Year finalists. The other three contenders were Julien Lelorrain, marketing director, Renault Ireland; Rita Kirwan, marketing director, Largo Foods for Tayto and Hunky Dorys and Walter Drenth, Heineken Ireland for Coors Light. Lelorrain was nominated for Renault’s car scrappage scheme in Ireland.
Two years ago, the Irish motor industry suffered its biggest downturn for 15 years and by July 2009, sales dropped by 65 per cent on 2008. Consumers could not afford to buy new cars, loans were hard to come by and people did not want to be seen making a sizeable investment in a recession. Renault aimed to be among Ireland’s top five car brands.
Renault’s strategy was to come up with a good news story and that was by putting pressure on the government to give the go-ahead to a scrappage scheme. The campaign focused on Renault’s three core models – the Clio, Megane and Fluence. From October 2009 to April 2010, sales increased by 158 per cent, with the Megane in the top four.
Kirwan faced the challenge of changing the fortunes of one of best loved brands, Tayto, through entertaining ads, world-class branding and innovative products. Ads were created which made Mr Tayto a household name among young consumers. Tayto grew by over 13 per cent since 2006 and outpaced its major rival Walkers by ten percentage points.
An election campaign, an autobiography and a new family theme park, which attracted over 300,000 visitors in under a year, were part of the brand’s success. Hunky Dorys made headlines with its risqué ads and sales were up by 12 per cent. Last year it was Ireland’s fastest growing crisp brand and it grew market share by a third to over 15.3 per cent. It is now the leading crinkle cut crisp in impulse, sharing and multi-pack formats.
Faced with the reality that Coors Light was popular among women but far less so among traditional beer drinkers – men - Drenth developed a strategy to coax 18-34 year males to ask themselves, could this be the beer for me? It was seen as a “girly” beer because it was light and so the perception had to be changed to mean “light in refreshment”.
The brand owned the Rocky Mountains images which tied in with a rugged, masculine message. Coors Light recorded average growth of 6.5 per cent in a declining market, on average down by five per cent over the last three years – thereby outperforming the market by as much as 11 per cent. It is now the top selling bottled beer in Ireland.