|Product / Service||VEGEMITE|
|Category||B03. Use of Print / Outdoor|
|Entrant||THINKERBELL Melbourne, AUSTRALIA|
|Idea Creation||THINKERBELL Melbourne, AUSTRALIA|
|Media Placement||THINKERBELL Melbourne, AUSTRALIA|
|Adam Ferrier||Thinkerbell||Chief Thinker|
|Jim Ingram||Thinkerbell||Chief Creative Tinker|
|Ben Couzens||Thinkerbell||Chief Tinker|
|Nikia Shepherd||Thinkerbell||Head Thinker|
|Marcus Byrne||Thinkerbell||Design Tinker|
|Matt Gray||Bega Foods||Vegemite Senior Marketing Manager|
|Ben Hill||Bega Foods||General Manager|
The brand platform “Tastes Like Australia” allows Vegemite to truly execute it’s ‘Australian-ness’ in weird and wonderful ways. Whilst Vegemite is one of Australia’s most iconic brands, it doesn’t have the marketing and media budgets expected for a brand of its size. So, part of our strategy for the Vegemite brand is to always be looking for topical and tactical opportunities to reignite Australian’s love and pride for Vegemite, allowing the brand to punch well above its weight in spend.
Years of American ownership had eroded Vegemite in hearts and homes all across Australia. Despite being one of Australia’s most well known and loved brands, Vegemite had suffered a drop in penetration and a decline across all key metrics, including ‘Australia’s most loved breakfast food’. The once great brand of Vegemite was slipping and needed to wedge itself back into the Australian conscience. So, in 2018, with the brand now back in Australian hands we launched ‘Tastes Like Australia’. This platform allowed us to move Vegemite away from a formerly rational strategy and watered down communications to one that thrived with Aussie pride and energy. The approach was all about cultural relevance and building a voice for the brand. With little money to spend, our approach was to get people thinking and talking about Vegemite in ways that felt big and distinctly Australian.
Our idea was simple. We would run a provocative full-page ad - not here in Australia, but very deliberately in the sports pages of England’s beloved Daily Mirror - the very publication that alerted us to the initial Marmite activity. The idea behind this move was to create an international shitstorm between the two brands, and to get the media (and cricket fans) talking.
Our strategy for driving word of mouth rested on finding parts of Australian culture that we could leverage to our advantage. We were looking for the intersection between significant cultural moments and ideas, what Vegemite stood for as a brand and earned media opportunities. During the 2019 Ashes in the UK, we heard that Marmite were handing out free jars of their UK breakfast spread to Aussie cricket-goers, claiming it tastes better than Vegemite. It was our National duty to respond… In order to seize upon Marmite’s provocation in handing out free jars of their pommy mite declaring it was superior, we had to respond with equal audacity. We needed to be clever if people were going to notice us, so while the media landscape here in Australia was clogged, we took the fight to England.
The speed of this move was imperative. At 7:45am on Wednesday, 7th August 2019, we were Google-alerted to Marmite’s daring ‘free jar’ stunt via an online article in the Daily Mirror. At 8:13am that same morning, with an email titled ‘It’s our national duty to respond’, we alerted the Marketing Director of Vegemite about what was happening and suggested a possible response. At 8:20am, just seven minutes later, came the response: ‘This is bloody brilliant! Love it, let’s do it!’. Over the course of the following 12 hours our hero ad was written, the layout completed and the UK media bought. Our timely-placed full page ad in The Daily Mirror ensured that English sports fans would wake to the news that Vegemite had started a ‘spreads war’ at the very time they were probably eating their Marmite on toast.
Our perfectly timed print ad ended up getting read out, almost verbatim across many national prime news and radio channels. ‘The Mitey Battle’ generated $6M in earned media, reinstating Vegemite in Australian hearts, minds and households. It had been a word of mouth success with the campaign exceeding all of its objectives. We achieved 9.8 million unique Aussie impressions and global reach of 36 million online. Plus, the punters loved it. We had a whopping 93% positive sentiment across the entire conversation. Our social pages saw the most of this love, and journalists loved it too. ‘The Mitey Battle’ also successfully increased penetration by entering over 200,000 new households as a result of the campaign. This resulted in a 4% increase in penetration from pre Mitey Battle to post and equated to more than a 2 percentage point increase in the same time period in 2018 (1.49%).