Friday 23 June 2017

Effective advertising alive and kicking at ADFX Awards

Ad campaigns remain a valuable part of a brand's armoury - as Orchard Thieves, Waterwipes and the Natural Confectionery Company showed

Such was the roaring success of Orchard Thieves that the advertising campaign that launched it on the market earned Rothco and Starcom, the creative and media agencies behind the campaign, the coveted Grand Prix at the IAPI-organised ADFX Awards
Such was the roaring success of Orchard Thieves that the advertising campaign that launched it on the market earned Rothco and Starcom, the creative and media agencies behind the campaign, the coveted Grand Prix at the IAPI-organised ADFX Awards

John McGee

Every so often a new product hits the market, shakes it up, becomes a roaring success and surpasses even the most ambitious of targets and forecasts. For some, success can be hard earned and take considerable time but for Orchard Thieves, the cider brand which was launched by Heineken Ireland in 2015, it came relatively quickly and in a market which has been dominated for many years by rival Bulmers.

Such was the roaring success of Orchard Thieves that the advertising campaign that launched it on the market earned Rothco and Starcom, the creative and media agencies behind the campaign, the coveted Grand Prix at the IAPI-organised ADFX Awards which were held during the week. The launch also saw the two agencies bagging the gold in the 'New product launch' category.

Showcasing effective advertising, the ADFX Awards are held every two years and are, in many ways, the Irish version of the Cannes Lions and the winners have to clearly demonstrate a campaign's effectiveness and its return on investment. Always a highly competitive awards programme, any agency that walks away with an award on the night can legitimately pat itself on the back in the knowledge that it has made a meaningful impact on its client's brand.

In making its case, Rothco and Starcom demonstrated how Orchard Thieves successfully challenged Bulmers' cider market dominance by achieving a 6.6pc market share within eight months. This is now understood to be in excess of 10pc and rising by the week.

In the first eight months alone, the brand sold 2m pints and 3m bottles and cans, doubling its business case targets and reducing the payback period by two years. Orchard Thieves is now a global brand for Heineken and is being launched in the Netherlands and South Africa using Irish-produced assets.

Not surprisingly, Orchard Thieves has scooped other awards along the way including several at the Media Awards and the Outdoor Advertising Awards, while it was a key factor in ensuring Heineken won Marketing Team of the Year at the All-Ireland Marketing Awards earlier in the year.

Indeed, the success of Orchard Thieves is also likely to have contributed to the elevation of Sharon Walsh, Heineken Ireland's former marketing director, to a well-deserved new role in the group's Amsterdam HQ where she is now global director of its new cider division.

A completely different product launch- but with many of the same activation attributes - also won gold on the night. The creative agency DDFH&B, together with media agency OMD, picked up the award for the plucky Waterwipes brand, the chemical-free baby wipe that is manufactured by Irish Breeze in Drogheda.

Within 10 months of launching, Water Wipes upped its market share to 21pc despite being more expensive than many of the own-label wipes. In making its effectiveness pitch, the two agencies noted that this increase in sales led to a revenue return on marketing investment of €1.98 for every €1 spent.

The company is now, quite literally, cleaning up in the market for baby wipes and offers serious competition to the big multinationals which have dominated the market for years. Its success has now translated into new jobs and a 45,000 sq ft facility has been built to service growing demand.

The ADFX Awards also called out media agency PHD, giving it a special recognition on the night, for work it did with a modest €131,000 budget for the Natural Confectionary Company and its partnership with Dublin Zoo.

The campaign - How Jelly Phants were Born - picked up gold in both the small budget and best new learning categories, while the partnership with Dublin Zoo inspired a special edition 'Jelly Phants' packs of jellies which turned out to be the most successful launch ever for the company. By the time it was over, the company clocked up double digit sales growth - a revenue return on marketing investment of €4.41 for every €1 spent.

Orchard Thieves, Waterwipes and the Natural Confectionery Company, of course, are entirely different products aimed at entirely different consumers.

What they have in common, however, is that they are perfect examples of the power of advertising, the importance of excellent creativity and media strategies and, ultimately, the impact all of this can have on the bottom line and the business success of a company and its brands. As the CEO of IAPI, Tania Banotti, puts it, "the ADFX Awards are ultimately about proving that advertising works. The winning cases are those that prove the link between their communications activity and an increase in financial value created for the client organisation."

For an industry that is currently engaged in a degree of soul-searching about its future and perhaps experiencing a major identity crisis, it is always reassuring to see evidence of success being delivered to clients. On the other hand, it if it fails to deliver in a meaningful way, that future might look somewhat bleak. For the time being, however, it's looking pretty good.

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