Media: Strategy Analysis - Making mischief to sell Fruit-tella

Brand: Fruit-tella

Client: Fruit-tella

Brief: Sell Fruit-tella to children and the trade

Target audience: Children

Budget: £600,000


Media: PHD Group (Rocket, Drum PHD)

Creative: PHD Group (Rocket, PHDiQ), Cartoon Network

STRATEGY Fruit-tella was an iconic confectionery brand in the 80s and early 90s but had since received no marketing support or product development. It had fallen off the radar for children and was in danger of being de-listed from the shelves.

As 80 per cent of Fruit-tella was consumed by children, PHD Group made them the core target. The starting point was to run triad groups with children to get an understanding of what made them tick.

A simple observation emerged: children like being naughty, whether with whoo-pee cushions or water bombs or by flicking ink. No brand seemed to embrace this naughtiness. So if you want to engage with children, you need to do it at their level - don't be worthy, be cheeky. With this insight, PHD Group set about developing a campaign that would create some "excitable mischief".


PTV sponsorship Building ties with cheeky characters would allow Fruit-tella to build its mischievous positioning.

Three characters instantly stood out. Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy - very popular, with their self-named programme leading the ratings on Cartoon Network.

Fruit-tella sponsored the programme but PHD Group wanted to take things further. It set about creating similar cheeky characters of its own - Tel, Tell 'n' Tella. Created by Rocket with Drum PHD and Cartoon Network, they were mirror images of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy and played pranks on each other during the sponsorship credits.

POnline PHD Group created a Tel, Tell 'n' Tella den microsite on the Cartoon Network website. The microsite included jokes, music, a message board and mischievous games.

Traffic was driven not just from Cartoon Network but,thanks to PHDiQ's negotiation, from other children's sites such as Citv and swapitshop. On swapitshop, Fruit-tella also ran a "Mischief Frenzy" auction where children could trade everything from stink-bombs to whoopee cushions.

PTV PHD Group focused on "excitable mischief" programming. It changed the endline from "Fruit-tella Fruitastic" to "Fruit Packin, Juice Smackin - Fruit-tella" to make it a bit more mischievous.

PInteractive TV Once viewers pressed the red button, they were taken into a game that involved stealing sweets from the Fruit-tella Factory.

PPress PHD wanted association with Dennis the Menace and the other cheeky characters of comics such as the Beano and the Dandy. So Fruit-tella sponsored the shirts of Dennis' Euro 2004 football team.

PTrade activity The major trade activity was a series of formal presentations to retailers. To showcase Fruit-tella's positioning, the agency picked a child to be the Fruit-tella "mini me" client. It then did the presentations in a room turned into a child's bedroom.


The children's online den was the number-one advertiser microsite on the Cartoon Network site in May, June and July, with 148,000 unique users.The "Fruit Pursuit" game got more than 286,000 plays - each for an average of five minutes.

But the real success is borne out by the excellent sales performance.

By the end of week six of the campaign, sales had increased 79 per cent.


Iain Jacob group managing director, Starcom UK Everybody hates a hypocrite, but this time I hope you will look kindly upon me. As a father I hate this work; as an objective observer I think it is very good. There is no doubt in my mind that Rocket has made its client's money work really hard and as a consequence more children, including my son, will be eating more Fruit-tella sweets... as part of a balanced diet, of course.

This is a very well-crafted piece of media work. Creating content around a Cartoon Network sponsorship and the Beano and Dandy comics is not new - indeed, these media owners are masters of the approach - but what I do think is exceptional is the diversity of the content and their real attention to detail.

Done badly, programmes such as this can be crass and patronising, especially to a seven-year-old (although they might use different words to describe it). Done well, they can create a lot of fun and excitement around a brand.

Rocket had a very simple idea based on the strong appeal of mischief-making to children. While this is not an earth-shattering insight in itself, Rocket has worked exceptionally hard to create a clever, multidimensional presence, where each element of the plan builds up to clearly position Fruit-tella as a fun brand, with, no doubt, some good playground credentials as a consequence. It really does take a lot of effort to bring this sort of stuff to fruition, if you will excuse the pun.

Finally, I think the trade presentation, using a mini-me client, was a masterstroke. Surely, even those hardened chaps from Tesco had a giggle.

My only real concern was over the detail of some of the insights from Rocket's triad groups. Assuming a triad group means it had three people in it, rather than being a collective of Chinese criminals, I was intrigued to see that alongside pulling faces and whoopee cushions as ways of being mischievous, sat ink-flicking. I have to say, I thought children were more into sending around virals of happy slapping incidents on their mobile phones than carrying fountain pens around. Then again, I might just have sent my son to the wrong school!

Well done to the team from Rocket, Drum PHD, PHDiQ and the media owners for bringing Fruit-tella back to life.

SCORE 4/5.