Newspaper Advertising: Case study - Walkers Sensations

The story

Walkers Sensations has achieved a strong business, as well as carving out a distinctive niche, by positioning itself as a bit more special than ordinary crisps. It's an adult crisp brand targeting women who are looking for a "me-time" treat. It sits in a competitive market, so innovation is vital.

Walkers decided it was time to give Sensations a fresh lease of life. The product was reformulated using real ingredients to deliver a more sophisticated flavour. The pack was redesigned to communicate the product's appetite appeal to the target audience.

The relaunch also offered the opportunity to test a different media mix. Walkers worked with the Newspaper Marketing Agency to explore what adding newspapers to TV could deliver for the brand.

A number of potential campaign routes were identified to communicate the key thought: "New Sensations. Rediscover real indulgence." Three different ideas were developed: "morphing" (1), "hands" (2) and "film" (3). Creative pre-testing had a key role to play in understanding the route with the greatest potential, as well as providing valuable feedback on executional issues.

The "morphing" route showed the real flavour ingredients (lime, ginger and coriander) morphing into potato crisps. Although the route communicated the new flavour strongly, it didn't take the next step to communicate the end benefit that Sensations makes your "me-time" moment - consumers desire an emotional and rational reward.

The "hands" route showed potential. The clean layout was simple, bold and noticeable, with strong food values - all elements that work well in the newspaper medium. The humorous quality of the copy was engaging and chimed well with expectations of Walkers Sensations advertising. However, the approach didn't feel as though the brand was offering "new" news; it didn't feel like a launch campaign.

The "film" route had the advantage of synergy with the TV since it featured Charlotte Church. The playbill-style of the approach meant it was immediately understood that news was being delivered; the amusing pastiche of a retro style and strong images meant it was noticed and had a sense of style and sophistication. This route was felt, on balance, to be the strongest.

The final executions (4-6) evolved the "film" route so that it achieved impact in the paper; not just by ensuring Church was easily identifiable and was an eye-catching figure, but also by associating her with the "news" of the new flavours by linking her visually to the ingredients. For example, she was surrounded by limes; using the same green dress and wicker chair featured in the TV ad.

The test campaign ran in May and June 2006, with a mix of TV and newspaper activity. Both the newspaper and TV campaigns worked well in isolation and both were seen as eye-catching. The newspaper ads were seen as intriguing and stylish, and gave consumers enough information to decide whether or not it was the brand for them.

But it was the combination of TV and newspapers that worked the hardest; driving greater uplifts in awareness, consideration and usage for the brand than TV alone. There was strong evidence from the Millward Brown brand tracking that seeing the newspaper ads helped the cut-through and communication of the TV campaign.

The effect of the newspaper campaign on sales was isolated through analysis of Tesco Clubcard data as well. Its conservative estimate of the increase in sales due solely to the newspaper campaign was 4.7 per cent. But what was more interesting, was the fact that the newspaper campaign had attracted new buyers into the franchise.

- Bridget Angear is an account planner at Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO; Jon Goldstone is the vice-president of marketing at Walkers.

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