Running with Scissors aims to ensnare men with F. Whitlock & Sons rebrand

No longer afraid of having their masculinity questioned, modern Kiwi men are following the likes Gordon Ramsay, Manu Feildel and Michael Van de Elzen into the kitchen, and this has created a gap in the market that Cerebos Gregg’s hopes to exploit by giving their F. Whitlock & Sons range a distinctly masculine appeal.    

Established in 1877 in Fredrick Whitlock’s Wanganui backyard, F. Whitlock & Sons has been producing relishes, chutneys and sauces for more than a century. Over the decades the company has changed hands various times, eventually being picked up by Cerebos Gregg’s.

When tasked with the rebranding of the popular range of condiments, Running with Scissors opted for a grassroots form of research, which had the team attending dinner parties to see at-home male chefs in action. 

Andy Mitchell, the head of Running with Scissors in New Zealand, says they found that men see cooking as a form of relaxation and that humour—black humour in particular—is an integral part of the process.

These findings gave the Running with Scissors team a three-fold challenge. They had to appeal to the modern Kiwi man (and the partners who often purchase on their behalf), incorporate humour and give a nod to the heritage of a centurion.

In a release, they said: “Running with Scissors and Marx Design worked together to draw on Fred [Whitlock’s] era, the turn of the last century, but modernise it in a way that appeals to the modern man’s more refined aesthetic sensibilities.”

By the end of this process, they had combined sketchbook-styled graphics with subversive copywriting to give a tongue-in-cheek account of how each bottle came into existence. This resulted in a range of quirky labels, which includes a tomato chutney bottle that features a tomato under a guillotine with the tagline ‘executing great flavours’.

Mitchell says the rebranding was not related to low sales figures. 

Justine Powell, the group brand manager at Cerebos Gregg’s, said they aim “to shake things up in grocery and think that Kiwi men will find the all new F. Whitlock & Sons products fresh, surprising, and a reprieve from the ordinary.”

A common branding encumbrance faced in grocery stores is that items from a particular brand might not be stocked together in the same area. Mitchell says the refreshed image of F. Whitlock & Sons will help to make the brand more recognisable, regardless of where the bottles are placed on the shelves.


Strategic and Creative Director: Lisa Divett

Design Director: Ryan Marx

Illustrator: James Stewart

Copywriters: Simon Chesterman, Guy Denniston

Account Team: Friday O’Flaherty, Emma Wilkinson

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