CASSIES Gold: Smarties Blue Cat has purrfect timing

JWT’s “Blue is Back” reignites the Nestlé Canada brand, reversing a decline in sales.
SmartiesCat

GOLD: Events, Seasonal and Short-Term

Situation Analysis: Many of us grew up with Smarties and have vivid memories of the brand from childhood. But this has come at a cost. Smarties has become the “Puff the Magic Dragon” of confectionery – the last thing that teens want to be seen with. This has had serious consequences for the brand, which declined 4% in 2008 and 3% in 2009.

Then two opportunities presented themselves. In 2009, Smarties had discontinued Blue Smarties as part of a move to “No Artificial Colours.” This was unpopular, but by 2010 Nestlé was able to get blue Smarties back into the mix. Meanwhile, Smarties had teamed up with Apple for a MacBook Pro giveaway as a way to get attention from teens. Could these two initiatives be combined?

Strategy & Insight: Teens are particular about what they like and what they associate themselves with. Enter a curious blue cat — irreverent, offish, even moody, living life on his own terms. He delivers the news about blue Smarties and the promotion in a way that would get talked about and shared.

Execution: The blue cat had serious attitude appeal, with a foreign accent that couldn’t quite be placed and rhyming speech (“Blue is back. Win a Mac”). This would go on to be mimicked by many of his fans. The campaign ran from mid-June through August 2010 and included 15-second TV spots, a partnership with the MuchMusic Video Awards, online banner advertising and a Facebook brand page.

Results: After two years of brand declines, “Blue is Back” turned the brand around. The 50-gram SKU (which accounts for 46% of brand sales) moved from a 4% decline at the end of 2009 to 4% growth by the end of 2010, a positive delta of 9%. Total Smarties also turned around, from -3% to +3%, and the Smarties Blue Cat now has a 600,000+ fan base on Facebook, making it the number two page in Canada, and at the time of the CASSIES submission, the total brand was growing at 7%.

Cause & Effect: Continuous tracking confirmed ad breakthrough. Branded recall grew to 41% – more than twice the norm. “Made you want to buy” was at 36% vs. a 20% norm and “Increased your interest in the brand” grew to 38% vs. a 17% norm. There were no significant changes in pricing or distribution and the Mac promotion, though it will have had some positive effect, was not the primary thrust of the campaign.

Credits:

Nestlé Canada
president, Nestle Confectionery: Terri Tinella; past president, Nestle Confectionery: Sandra Martinez; leader, confectionery marketing: Gary Batey; marketing managers: Kate Beresford, Sarah Sauder, Rachelle Kennedy, Ashley Edelstein; consumer & shopper insight manager, confectionery: Acky Dinnepati; consumer communications: Ted Rideout; CCSD leader confectionery: Ken Mahon; AVA leader confectionery: Joel Martins; AMM AVA confections: Scott Houston; CCSD confectionery: Shawn Sokell; marketing manager: Maria DiLeo

JWT
ECD: Martin Shewchuk; VP group account director: Carolyn Bingham; copywriter: Gord Yungblut; AD: Jason Souce; broadcast producer: Gavin Nevsky; account supervisor: Andrew Knight; account executives: Gillian Brown, Kathleen Dusk

Partners
VP, group account director, ZenithOptimedia: Kim Carnahan; account director, ZenithOptimedia: Aaron Wills

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