How Peperami is ‘moving the brand on’ to appeal to a wider audience

Peperami is looking to increase brand relevance among young adults, with its most senior marketer claiming former owner Unilever overlooked the potential of the UK-focused brand.

Innovation is core to the strategy, which has seen Peperami introduce a raft of new products to attract a more health-conscious consumer, as well as a refreshed look, which is designed to be sleeker and more appealing to a wider audience.

The new-look design keeps Peperami’s classic green colour, while highlighting key nutritional information on the front of pack.

“We’ve widened the product range to include chicken, bars and jerky. This is to make sure we’ve got products that hit the right format [and are relevant] for a young adult audience,” explains Peperami marketing manager Pavan Chandra. “This was all done to move the brand on. You can’t just keep marketing to your old generation, you must market to the people that are relevant today.”

Chandra says Peperami is keen to portray a more mature image so it is not seen by young adults as the same product they bought as a child.

“People aged 21 to 30 don’t want to eat what they were eating when they were kids,” he adds.

It’s very important that not only does the brand grow, but we bring in new people to the category as well.

Pavan Chandra, Peperami

The brand conducted extensive research of 800 consumers to ensure its revamped packaging and product range would appeal to its target audience of young adults, a move Chandra says was “vital” to ensure consumers remain “at the centre of your wheel”.

“We did a lot of research into what consumers thought of the brand, and what their understanding of the brand and the products were. We also [looked at] what they didn’t understand about the products, the brand and the category itself. Because at the end of the day, it’s very important that not only does the brand grow, but we bring in new people to the category as well,” he says.

Peperami is currently the dominant meat snacking brand in the UK with a 53% market share, according to Nielsen data. “It was about a £35m brand [under Unilever], it’s now a £93m brand,” claims Chandra.

The brand was sold by Unilever to US-based meat snacking company Jack Link’s in 2014 for an undisclosed fee.

“Unilever for years now has been moving its focus around its global brands, and Peperami isn’t a global brand… it was a local jewel for them, so as such the investment that went into marketing wasn’t as great or as focused as it is now,” he claims.

Peperami has enlisted Rio Ferdinand to help showcase the brand’s revamped look and message.

Chandra says key to Peperami’s growth has been the close alignment between its sales and marketing teams.

“Since Jack Link’s took over, we’ve used a very focused partnership between sales and marketing. Sales has been developing our retail relationships, partners and distribution network. While marketing got under the skin of the consumer, and really pushed the brand forward, making it much more relevant, launching new products and really supporting our core products to ensure consumers get a better understanding,” says Chandra.

“If you can get your teams working together and performing well, then you will make the products and brands you support successful.”

Butt of the joke

To help it appeal to a wider audience and showcase its revamped look and extended range, Peperami is today launching a seven-figure integrated campaign called ‘#BanTheBland’, a tongue-in-cheek initiative that takes aims at peculiar British snacks and food, that have become “the butt of the joke across the world”.

Central to the campaign is video series to be shown on social featuring football broadcaster Rio Ferdinand, musician Olly Murs and presenter Joe Swash. In each episode, the celebrities will eat a snack such as jellied eels, the crisp sandwich and the Wigan kebab (a meat pie in a bun) and give their opinions.

Ferdinand kicks off the series and all three will provide their opinion on their chosen snack before pointing consumers in the direction of Peperami products, highlighting their versatility and flavour range.

In addition, the brand will run 20-second video-on-demand ads on ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. Success for the brand lies in KPIs such as awareness, health and trust.

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