Media: Strategy Analysis - Helping the Brits do summer better

Brand: Pimm's No.1 Client: Diageo Brief: Increase sales of Pimm's Target audience: UK adults Budget: Undisclosed AGENCIES Media: Jessica McQuade, Laura Nice and Stuart Butler at Carat Creative: Mother PR: Trimedia

STRATEGY

Pimm's had been growing for years, but 2004 saw a decline in sales despite strong brand awareness and affinity scores. To find out what was going on, Carat asked consumers about it in focus groups.

It found that they loved the brand but felt it was a little bit too "posh" for them. If Carat was to meet its objective of increasing penetration from 3.2 to 4.8 per cent, it needed to make the brand a lot more accessible.

The challenge was to achieve this without compromising the fondness for the brand.

Consumers tended to associate Pimm's with a particular type of "establishment" English poshness - reinforced by the TV-ad hero Harry. It was also closely associated with a posh English summer and season events such as Wimbledon and the Henley Regatta. People are fond of all this, but few can actually attend such events.

Also, the English love summer, but are just not that good at it - umbrellas at barbecues, long traffic jams to the coast and pasty white legs on the beach are about as good as it gets. Everyone looks forward to the few weeks of sunshine but it just doesn't always end up being the utopia we want.

Carat's key insight was that "posh institutions" have a special place in our hearts because it wouldn't be a proper British summer without them.

They are proof that summer is happening, a vision of our ideal. Carat wanted to exploit this and help Pimm's to bridge the accessibility gap by helping the Brits do summer better. The platform "Anyone for summer?" was born.

EXECUTION

Pimm's other agencies embraced the idea and Carat presented its ideas to the client in the form of a summer photo album that took them through the campaign through the eyes of a consumer.

- Online: The ideas focused on moments when people have fun with their own summer events, most popularly the barbecue. Pimm's has a perfect fit here, being fun, sociable and a bit special. Everything got "summered up". Carat built a summer web page that included barbecue tips. The brand's customer helpline became the "barbecue hotline", and was supported through the above-the-line campaign.

- Radio: Carat used radio to get closer to consumers by using a "thermally activated element", allowing Pimm's to own the excitement of a sunny weekend.

Radio promotions were activated when the weather in the run-up to a weekend was good and actively encouraged people to do their summer better. The days preceding sunny weekends saw Virgin and Capital listeners requesting their favourite summer tracks, putting everyone in a happy mood for the weekend ahead.

Promotion winners were supplied with £5,000 worth of everything they needed for a perfect barbecue (a case of Pimm's, patio furniture, a barbecue, a food hamper and, just in case, an umbrella and patio heater). All of this this was delivered in time for the weekend.

RESULTS

The campaign ran from April through to August. Full results are not yet available but the barbecue hotline and, especially, the radio promotions proved very popular.

THE VERDICT - Gerry Boyle managing director, ZenithOptimedia

This campaign was full of promise. I have been an admirer of Mother's creative work for Pimm's for several summers now. Those first spots appear around April and carry on creating hope and expectation that summer is going to arrive until the end of August

Inevitably, however, we are left disappointed, bar a few sunny intervals - and I'm afraid that's how I felt about this campaign.

The insight was good: make Pimm's a part of summer for everyone, not just the small fraction of the population that attends quintessentially English Establishment events.

The platform was also good - "Anyone for summer?" had mileage and the focus around the barbecue was a good place to start. We all know the feeling of looking forward to a weekend barbecue. There's only one thing that can go wrong - the weather.

So what went wrong here? Simply, I was left feeling flat by the execution of such a potentially strong platform.

The "thermally activated" radio package was neat, if not exactly original.

Likewise, the radio promotions and prizes were relevant and worthwhile without seeming particularly inspired. A barbecue tips page on the website is mandatory, rather than something to write home about. Turning the brand's consumer helpline into a "barbecue hotline" is a fun idea, unless of course you want to enquire about something other than a barbecue.

I wanted to know more about how this support dovetailed with the powerful TV work. What could be done to exploit the point of sale, to tap into that wonderful feeling when one is shopping on a sunny Saturday morning in preparation for the afternoon's barbecue? Where were the in-store promotions, or at the very least some kind of retail presence?

Perhaps the internet could have been used in the same way as the thermal radio package, as a means of connecting with people on hot afternoons in the office?

Selfishly, I wanted more ... but did the campaign work? Sales, we are told, are up. What I'm less clear on is the line of sight between this activity and those increases. Let's hope for a better summer next year.

SCORE: 2/5.