TVNZ-NZ Marketing Awards 2018 best marketing communication strategy winner: Whittaker’s

The Challenge

Whittaker’s is a relatively small operation competing against some of the strongest brands in the world. Chocolate companies like Cadbury and Lindt are giants in the market and Whittaker’s media spend in the category is only about 8 percent.

Unable to buy its place in the market, the company seeks creative solutions to build its long-term brand. In the last two years, Whittaker’s has made exponential ground in redefining the premium 100g category in New Zealand.

The Artisan range has achieved market leadership over Lindt by out-innovating and out-marketing the larger company. Knowing Whittaker’s had climbed to the top of the category was a good incentive to keep going and the latest range, Destinations, was developed as an extension of that successful strategy.

The new range focuses on the origin stories of the premium chocolates, capturing the romance of travel and spicing up the packaging to reflect that.

Whittaker’s saw a gap in the market to share new and unique flavour combinations with its customers and packaged them all in four works of art that referenced the different Destination countries: Nicaragua, Canada, India and Italy. 

The Response

Creating the new products was only the first step, getting the products to create noise was the next.

Nigella Lawson is a great ambassador for Whittaker’s and a genuinely enticing drawcard for the brand. But the Destinations range needed to be even bigger to stand out, and three celebrities with tenuous, yet real, connections to the brand stepped up. Lawson’s famous friends Joanna Lumley, Stephen Fry and Bill Bailey were all brought on board to elevate the campaign.

In July 2017, Whittaker’s teased at the new campaign, by tweeting an image of a note Andrew and Brian Whittaker sent to Nigella’s London home. Shortly afterwards, a TVC was launched showing Lawson receiving a package featuring the new Destinations range, with her famous friends knocking down the door to test the chocolates.

The TVC served a traditional role in the campaign. Its job was to get people to feel emotionally invested in the products. The social side had to deliver the more tactical elements of the campaign. The goal on social was to tell each product’s flavour stories in a way that induced salivation, showcased chocolate craft and motivated purchase.

To achieve this, Whittaker’s pulled out the big guns and released a multipath canvas story on Facebook. The immersive storytelling experience allowed people to pick their path, choose their first destination and then follow the story of the block. Once each destination was explored, the user could choose their next paths. 

The Result

The marketing challenge was to launch the Destinations range with an objective to have all variants in the top 20 value ranking by the year end. By September 2017, three out of the four Destinations were in the top 10 ranking for 100g chocolates, with the only block missing out coming in at number 14.

The campaign also elevated Whittaker’s entire 100g range with six of the Artisan range also featuring in the top 10.

Whittaker’s unique reach on social was also a company- rst at 1.8 million, with 7.4 million impressions and 3.4 million views, nearly four times the figures of a previous new product Whittaker’s campaign.

The multi-path canvas story proved to be a great extension of the more traditional sides to the campaign, with the story holding people for an average of 60 seconds, smashing the New Zealand benchmark of 20 seconds. In addition, they viewed 92.5 percent of the total canvas, equating to a total of 478 hours of voluntary viewing time. 

Best Marketing Communication Strategy
Nigella! I Was Just Passing…
J H Whittaker & Sons 
Assignment, MBM, Sweeny Vesty, Peter Burger 
Air New Zealand, FMG, J H Whittaker & Sons, Lion, Masterpet NZ, nib 

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