"Every job" from 1965, reflects the nature of Britain at work (1). From the girls at the factory with a hard day's work ahead, to the local gymkhana and the air traffic controller, all have one thing in common: how they benefit from the square-meal nourishment of Weetabix. And with three pack shots, four brand mentions and four bowl shots in 30 seconds, it's a marketer's heaven - packed full of branded goodness!
A 1969 commercial is aptly titled "big wheat country" (2). Bonanza meets Weetabix, from the plains of Arizona to the wheat fields of Northamptonshire.
A phalanx of combine harvesters and the broad landscape of wheat fields; what clearer demonstration of the product heritage of the nation's favourite breakfast cereal? And, as was common in ads from that era, the wholesome breakfast-setting with the whole family sitting down to breakfast together, before dad rushed off to work, leaving the children to have an energy-packed morning reinforced by Weetabix. Exit on great product shot.
The early ads focused on the product attributes; wholewheat goodness, nourishment and the value of a Weetabix breakfast in setting you up for the day. Simple but effective communication of the brand's core proposition of healthy wholewheat goodness that has been the foundation of the brand ever since.
The 80s marked a real style change for the brand and a distinctively different approach to advertising. Enter the Neet Weet gang ("you make it neat wheat mate, if you know what's good for you, you do. OK!"), one of the most famous campaigns for the brand and still recalled today. This 1993 version (4) called "spotlight" has the gang - Brian, Brains, Dunk and Bixie - all playing up the simple virtues of wheat and, perhaps unusually for the time, venturing into the territory of competitive positioning versus other brands.
The next two ads - "Robin Hood" (5) and "driving test" (3) - bring humour to the fore. "Robin Hood" shows how music and witty lyrics work together, with Robin Hood retreating at the sight of the Sheriff of Nottingham scoffing his Weetabix. These ads all formed part of the "have you had yours?" campaign.
"Driving instructor" continues the use of music and clever lyrics with a day in the life of a driving instructor set to I Will Survive. The driving instructor is able to cope thanks to a Weetabix breakfast.
The most recent commercial is from the "What are you made of?" campaign (6). This is a major shift in emphasis for Weetabix: it still focuses on the brand but brings the whole family of Weetabix brands together for the first time in a fable setting. It features a neglected scarecrow, who is unable to perform his duties. A kind farmer rescues him and transforms him into a scarecrow full of vigour having had the benefit of wholegrain goodness.
This ad breaks the conventions of the category. It's an example of how advertising for the brand has returned to the brand messages that were referred to in the early ads.
The consistency of advertising over the decades and the entertainment that many of our ads have provided have firmly established Weetabix as the nation's favourite breakfast cereal. Long may it remain so. Weetabix is the brand leader in a competitive marketplace, a fact that is testament to the quality of the brand and the power of TV advertising.
1. WEETABIX Title: Every job Agency: Lowe Year: 1965 2. WEETABIX Title: Big wheat country Agency: Lowe Year: 1969 3. WEETABIX Title: Driving instructor Agency: Lowe Year: 1991 4. WEETABIX Title: Spotlight Agency: Allen Brady & Marsh Year: 1983 5. WEETABIX Title: Robin Hood Agency: Lowe Year: 1997 6. WEETABIX Title: Scarecrow Agency: DDB London Year: 2005