Media Campaigns Convince Brits to Buy Potatoes
Potato sales have recovered in past three years, due to a campaign started three years ago, say UK’ AHDB Potatoes.
Following declining price and sales in the UK potato market, AHDB launched “Bud the Spud” three years ago and “More than a Bit on the Side” campaigns in a bid to improve its perception among the public.
Almost three years ago, Bud was introduced to a consumer audience in an EU co-financed joint campaign with Bord Bia (the Irish food board), tasked with emotionally re-engaging consumers with potatoes, through providing quick-and-easy meal inspiration.
Using social media, advertising and traditional media, Bud was, in the initial stages of the campaign, keen to grow his friendship base through social media, a platform used more and more by the millennial target audience (22–44-year-old women, with a keener focus on the younger half of that segment). He then slowly began appearing in more prominent places as his popularity grew, featuring on London Underground platforms, trains, popular consumer magazines, and elsewhere on digital and social media. Since the start of the campaign, his following has grown to more than 220,000 on Facebook, and 30,000 on both Instagram and Twitter, with high levels of engagement on recipe “how to” videos and the odd appearance from Bud himself on key dates throughout the year that require celebrity appearances.
Awareness of the “More than a Bit on the Side” campaign among total and target audience has continued to increase following each wave of campaign activity, with more consumers recognizing the campaign, the star, and, more importantly, the messages that Bud was trying to get across to his followers. The most recent piece of evaluation (October 2017) showed that, among the target sample, consumer perceptions of potatoes being versatile and healthy were all higher than when the campaign started, albeit with a slight decline in agreement compared to the previous wave (July 2017). Furthermore, findings from all bursts of post-campaign research have shown around 9 in 10 consumers are now considering cooking potatoes either on weekdays or weekends.
While retail performance cannot be directly attributed to marketing activity, at the end of the second year of the campaign Kantar WorldPanel figures showed that fresh potato volumes sold are higher than the level predicted, in this way the campaign is viewed as exceeding its target for the first two full years of activity.
In 2017, there was an increase in the volume of fresh potatoes sold in retail, and consumers, both within the target audience and the wider population, were buying potatoes more frequently than they were prior to the start of the campaign.
“Bud the Spud” campaign is going to continue during the summer months.