Case Study: Finnebrogue Artisan - Always hungry to do better
We’ve been working with Finnebrogue Artisan for about four years now. This is the story about how we launched their Better Naked brand.
Finnebrogue is a small estate in Northern Ireland, which has adopted a more sustainable way of farming through rewilding, tree-planting and restoring natural eco-systems. This in itself sets the tone for Finnebrogue Artisan and Better Naked.
Finnebrogue Artisan is one of the UK’s leading artisan food producers. It’s a family-owned business which has made its name producing premium sausage, venison, bacon, ham, wagyu beef and plant-based alternatives.
Employing 1200 people, they produce the Better Naked brand of bacon, sausages and a range of plant-based food. Distribution is through UK’s leading supermarkets – ASDA, Tesco, Waitrose, Sainsburys, Ocado, Morrisons and numerous independent stores.
Finnebrogue also supply a range of meat and plant-based own-label products for the likes of M&S, Co-op and ASDA. Annual turnover is now over £160m, with £25m of that attributed to Better Naked.
The people at Finnebrogue describe themselves as restless innovators and live by their mantra ‘to make food the best it can possibly be, without being bound by the way it’s always been done.’
The Better Naked brand started with sausages in 2015. Made without artificial preservatives and 100% pork sourced from the British Isles, their sausages are better for you.
Next in 2017, it was bacon. But there was no way they were going to make bacon with harmful nitrites or other nasties. So they found a way to do it: part of which involves using a natural and harmless spice extract. The bacon has gone on to become the UK’s biggest bacon brand, sold at leading supermarkets across the UK and Ireland.
During this time something else was happening. Increasing numbers of consumers were avoiding meat consumption (vegetarian & vegans) for the purposes of animal welfare, health and the environmental burden.
An even bigger number were meat-reducers, who, rather than giving up meat entirely, wanted to cut down their consumption.
The demand for next-generation plant-based products played into Finnebrogue’s hands. As a meat producer, they had always been concerned about their long-term impact on the environment. Plant-based food would enable Finnebrogue to explore ways of producing plant-protein that was not only pioneering in terms of taste, succulence and health benefits, but was more sustainable and as affordable as meat.
In 2020, they launched their successful plant-based range - Better Naked ‘Without the Oink, Moo, Cluck and Splash’.
In the background to all this was a concern that consumers lacked clear and authoritative information about the environmental impact of the food they ate. Pioneered by Finnebrogue’s late founder Denis Lynn, the non-profit Foundation Earth was launched in September 2021. Their first initiative was to introduce unique front-of-pack environmental scores on their food products to enable consumers to make more sustainable buying choices: and encourage other retailers to do the same by joining Foundation Earth.
From tastier, healthier sausages, to nitrite-free bacon to next-generation plant-based food, to on-pack environmental scores, it all paints a picture. It’s a picture of a highly innovative company who continually want to do better for the consumer and the planet, in terms of tastier, healthier, more sustainable and affordable products.
Time to tell their story
Previous marketing had focussed on out of home (OOH), supermarket posters,
print and social media. The messaging was more product focused rather than
It was time to shift up a gear and do justice to the Better Naked story.
Engage consumers. Tell them what the brand stands for, what it’s trying to achieve,
and what it means for them.
The ultimate objective? To turn Better Naked into a UK household name by
increasing brand knowledge and awareness – which in turn would lead to an
increase in sales: and more engaged customers.
But for a relatively small company, with a relatively small advertising budget,
how do you actually achieve that against the mighty spending power of your
Hungry for a national roll out
A national, integrated multi-media campaign, headed up by TV advertising was
the ideal vehicle. Unfortunately, the media budget needed to support such a
campaign was never going to happen.
Another barrier was that the company had never really done TV advertising
before. They had dipped their toe into 10sec tv ads for Better Naked bacon
on Channel 4 in 2020. But what was needed here was on another scale.
Nerves had to be settled. ROI had to be proved.
So it was decided that a fully trackable, integrated regional campaign should
be created to test the effectiveness of the advertising in preparation for a national
roll out of the Better Naked brand.
The lead medium was TV. The main messaging challenge was how do you speak to both lovers of bacon and sausages and vegetarians and vegans all at the same?
Catering for the modern-day family
The answer was the modern-day family. When it comes to food, many of today’s families have mixed tastes and preferences. One parent may be a meat-eater, the other a vegetarian. The children may be vegans. The fact is, the days of the family sitting around the table eating the same meal are long gone.
With their range of meat and plant-based products, Better Naked perfectly caters for this modern-day family.
So we created a modern-day TV family, headed up by Helen. Helen is about 35 years of age and is likeable and relatable. She’s a mother and a veggie, while her partner is a meat-lover. They have a young daughter. Throughout the commercial Helen talks to us about how she wants to make positive changes in the world – which she can do with Better Naked.
The 50sec tv commercial ‘Hungry for a better world?’ – with 30 sec cut downs - gives time and space to the story. It shows a brand that is trying to do some good in the world. Its secondary message says that, despite our differences, we can all happily co-exist together.
The campaign kicked off in January (Veganuary) 2021 in the Meridian region across TV, VOD, YouTube, POS retailer 6 sheets, OOH and buses, and of course, the social channels.
The sales data was tracked using a Datarama dashboard. By uploading individual store postcodes for the major retailers (Sainsbury, Tesco, Waitrose and Asda) and downloading sales data by week, by store and by individual products, we were able to track and analyse the overall ROS uplift (rate of sale) for the Meridian region by week vs the national average and even the incremental uplift on top, where we had POS OOH 6 sheet activity.
Hungry to build on the success
Naturally with any advertising campaign you want an
immediate increase in sales and awareness. We were
also looking closely at ‘the tail’ – the period when
the advertising had stopped running but the
consumers kept buying. How long would that tail
last? The longer the tail lasted the more we felt
we would’ve cracked the habitual buying pattern
and gained brand loyalty.
The results were better than we could’ve imagined:
Prompted awareness of Better Naked was up
from 3% to 11.8%. That’s an increase of 393%.
The rate of sales increase across meat and plant-based
food averaged +62% (with some products as high as +80%.) in the
Meridian region vs national average.
And two months after the campaign finished the results are still tracking at +55%.
Importantly, you have to remember that this was more or less a standing start. No real brand activity had ever taken place with Better Naked. Any marketing activity had been product based.
But now we had the proof: a trackable campaign that could be rolled out nationally.
So here’s to Better Naked; better and bigger marketing campaigns. And a better world for all of us.
Case Study: Thorntons - We do branding
Thorntons is big in Dundee. Its awareness is built on its reputation as the go-to-guys in Tayside for residential conveyancing and estate agency.
But it’s always been much more than that.
Thorntons’ legal services now cover an impressive range: including family, private client, business, rural & agricultural and immigration law,
to name just a few.
This was a story that was not being told.
Understanding the Brand.
Research and brand workshops showed that Thorntons’ people had a genuine pride in their Firm. Culturally, they liked the fact that they occupied a space miles away from the corporate aloofness of Edinburgh’s ‘legal establishment’: and at the same time had strong local roots in places like Montrose, Arbroath and Cupar.
Our research led to the creation of a comprehensive Brand Report based on our Brand Workshops including a game-changing brand promise.
Our Brand Workshops identified easily understandable values:
Excellence, open, professional, delivery, leadership and community-focused.
And achievable, realistic personality traits:
Pride, passionate, caring, approachable, reliable, ambitious.
There was a strong service-led proposition:
Thorntons exists to deliver success for its clients.
And that game-changing brand promise?
Thorntons act with integrity and humanity: a strong sense of justice and fairness.
The advice they give is not driven by financial gain, it is guided by what is the best solution for their clients. Why? Because like everything
Thorntons does, it’s the right thing to do.
This led to the Thorntons brand promise: We do what’s right.
In January 2019 we launched the new brand campaign We do.
The primary objective was to create brand awareness, knowledge and understanding of Thorntons’ full legal offering across its East coast geography.
Two important insights guided the creative work.
Firstly, Thorntons are untypical of the common perceptions of lawyers; they are genuinely warm, human and approachable. So we steered away from typical ‘lawyer speak’ – instead using language that was relatable to our audiences.
Secondly, we acknowledged that our modern-day sofa-surfing audiences are ambivalent to TV advertising. So, naturally we launched with a 50 second tv slot. But out went any detail: we told our story in the shortest amount of words. Less would prove to be more.
The advertising campaign took the single-minded brand promise of We do what’s right and used it as a construct to explain simply to our audience the extensive range of services Thorntons cover.
All we wanted to do at this stage was create brand recall and awareness – and a nice warm feeling about a brand our audience knew little about. (Subsequent follow up departmental campaigns would drill down into details and benefits.)
Again, less is more.
Scotpulse research tracked progress across the three bursts of activity in 2019.
The results overwhelmingly demonstrated that we had achieved our objectives. Especially in the face of stiff competition from the likes of Digby Brown who outspent Thorntons by 15-1 in 2019.
After burst three, the already market-leading awareness of Thorntons had increased in Dundee by 17%
And in the extraordinarily competitive Edinburgh market, Thorntons secured joint-second in awareness with an increase of 67%.
Prompted awareness in Edinburgh was up 52%. And advertising awareness more than doubled, up by 150%
Web traffic* dramatically increased YOY over the launch campaign period:
New users were up 37.2%
Users increased by 35.9%
Sessions went up by 40.7%
And page views increased by 23.7%
Alongside the campaign results, company growth had been remarkable as a 23% increase in staff numbers demonstrates. (Only 23% of which came from acquisition.)
By September 2019, success was publicly acknowledged, with Thorntons climbing from fifth to fourth in Scottish Business Insider’s legal rankings – and fast-closing in on third.
As you can see, we not only do branding. We do results too.
*Source: Google Analytics 14th Jan 2019 - 31st Mar 2019