CLOSE-UP: CLIENT OF THE WEEK - Pushing popcorn’s fun factor. Mairi Clark discovers why Louise Cooke picked silly pranks for Butterkist’s ads

If you were asked to name any popcorn brand, the first that comes to mind is Butterkist. Not because of any particular quality recognition but simply because it’s the only one people know.

If you were asked to name any popcorn brand, the first that comes

to mind is Butterkist. Not because of any particular quality recognition

but simply because it’s the only one people know.



It was this market monopolisation that Louise Cooke, Trebor Bassett’s

marketing controller, concentrated on when she briefed WCRS to create

Butterkist’s new pounds 3.5 million TV campaign (Campaign, last week).

The quirky advertising shows two madcap pranksters playing tricks on the

unsuspecting public, such as replacing a golfer’s ball with an egg so he

smashes it and splashes yolk over himself. ’Butterkist is actually a

very well-known brand,’ Cooke says. ’We wanted to concentrate on brand

awareness rather than convey the quality and taste because people

already know that they like it.’



Butterkist’s only rivals are own-label popcorn and loose popcorn, but

Cooke is adamant most of her buyers consume their purchase at home.

’People see popcorn as something they would buy as well as, rather than

instead of, peanuts and crisps,’ she says.



Cooke started working on the Butterkist brand when it was acquired by

Trebor Bassett’s parent, Cadbury Schweppes, from Craven Keiller in

1996.



She joined Cadbury’s in 1986 as a graduate trainee from Loughborough

University where she read business studies. But she hasn’t limited

herself to marketing.



When she joined the Trebor Bassett division six years ago, she worked in

logistics.



’I always wanted to work in marketing but I wanted to get a feel for

every aspect of the business so I moved from marketing to finance to

logistics,’ Cooke says. Before working in the Trebor Bassett arm, she

worked for the main confectionery division.



Cooke doubts whether anyone would be inspired to recreate the pranks

shown in the ads. ’People have told me that they’ve seen people do the

taxi stunt, where one of the guys gets in one side, walks straight

through and gets out the other side,’ she says. ’We just wanted to

create something really distinctive and get the right mix, which I think

we’ve got.’



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