CLOSE-UP: CLIENT OF THE WEEK; Bridge follows up ‘Oi! No!’ hit

Richard Cook meets Jude Bridge, the woman behind the Hula Hoops campaign

Richard Cook meets Jude Bridge, the woman behind the Hula Hoops campaign

When clients are in trouble; when they are weary, worn down by

supporting an ailing brand; when they are concerned not to step over the

line; when they are cautious to disengage the outre from outrageous -

then they turn to the celebrity endorsement. Or so the conventional

wisdom maintains.

True, when Jude Bridge joined KP Foods in January last year as the

marketing controller (snacks), KP’s pre-eminent snack, Hula Hoops, was

in some disarray. And she did accede to plans from her agency, Publicis,

to rebuild the product’s profile with a marketing campaign featuring not

one, but two celebrities, but any resemblance ends there.

The first ads, introducing the Self Righteous Brothers, played by Harry

Enfield and Paul Whitehouse, were a triumph. Sales of the snack improved

by 25 per cent and the ‘Oi! No!’ catchphrase was soon reverberating

around pubs and clubs all over the country. This week sees the release

of a new pounds 2 million initiative (Campaign, 8 March) that gives the

pair a selection of new targets for their verbal assaults, including the

supermodel, Naomi Campbell, and Blur’s Damon Albarn.

For Bridge, the success of the campaign has helped raise her own profile

after 11 years in various important and educational, but ultimately

anonymous, roles within Unilever’s marketing machine - having moved, as

she puts it, ‘from toiletries to armpits’ after joining the

multinational as a graduate trainee.

Now the challenge is not to repeat the formula but to keep the

proposition moving on. ‘Too many clients confuse the campaign with the

execution,’ she says, ‘and simply repeat the execution in different

clothes. So our new ads are deliberately aiming for a younger target


She admits to discovering her ‘passion for brands’ while toying with the

idea of staying at home permanently to look after her family and catch

up on the Aussie soaps. ‘Brand management is all about knowing the right

levers to pull,’ she says, ‘and I love finding out what makes brands