Becoming the UK's #1 Instant Snack




Category Background

Pot Noodle, creators of the ‘Bombay Bad Boy’, held a strangle hold on the £197m potted snacks market in the UK and at the beginning of 2018, awareness for their brand sat at 90%.
In addition to Pot Noodle, Batchelor’s, Uncle Ben’s and own label brands made up a significant portion of the market which left Mug Shot with under 3% market share despite
a relatively strong awareness level of 80%.

Brand Context

The Mug Shot brand had grown in the UK through strong national distribution across the four major retailers; Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons and strong pack recognition in-store with category consumers.

However, Mug Shot had not communicated beyond the supermarket shelves with consumers and as a result was underperforming when compared with key competitors on metrics including brand salience, consideration, purchase intent and ultimately sales.

Campaign objectives

The new campaign was designed to bring the Mug Shot brand top-of-mind for light category buyers and new users, build the taste and health credentials of the brand and increase penetration for Mug Shot.

Increasing unprompted awareness alone would not be enough to increase Mug Shot’s market share. We had to drive brand saliency for Mug Shot in a cluttered and competitive environment, improve brand perceptions, increase consumer consideration and turn purchase intent in to household penetration.

The campaign set-out to drive the following uplift in the test regions;

Brand Penetration - 25% Target Uplift

Value Sales Growth - 10% Target Uplift

Brand Salience and Consideration - 6% Target Uplift

Purchase Intent - 4% Target Uplift

Campaign Context

As a venture-capitalist funded business, if the activity did not improve the brand position and short-term sales for Mug Shot, future marketing budgets would be immediately diverted to other parent-company brands.



Target Audience

Mug Shot identified two key consumer targets for the campaign;
* Female Office Workers
* Busy Stay at Home Mums

On the surface, they were diverse but after analysis we identified a key unifying factor which was a lack of time. This drove their desire for snacking and meal time solutions that were tasty, convenient and didn’t sacrifice on health benefits.

That is largely where the similarities in the audience ended, when we looked at their media consumption and shopping habits we found quite distinct behaviours. We needed a media strategy that could stand-out at a broad level across both target groups, but also improve visibility around two different consumer journeys.

The Strategic Framework

We built our approach in two key stages;

Associate – Use high impact media to drive a distinct identity for Mug Shot as a tasty, convenient and guilt free instant snack.

Remind & Convert – Use targeted media to ensure that the brand is top-of-mind when the audiences are shopping and support in-store activity

Campaign Details

With a budget of just over £512,000, we didn’t have the resources to invest nationally and so carefully selected two test regions; Yorkshire and Scotland.

This decision was made to both minimise risk and to test the effectiveness of the media channels deployed in an over-trade (Yorkshire) and under-trade (Scotland) region.

With the evidence gained from the campaign we could prove to the board that continuous investment was critical to the future growth of the brand.

The campaign dates were set as the 29th of May to the 6th of July 2018.

Channel Selection

We needed to use media channels that were well known for driving brand effect uplift, as well as strong commercial performance in the short term.

Strategic Pillar Associate Remind and Convert
Role for Media Use high impact media to drive a distinct identity for Mug Shot as a tasty, convenient and guilt free instant snack Use targeted media to ensure that the brand is top of mind when the audiences are shopping and support in store activity
Channels Television, Broadcast VOD Radio, Digital, Out of Home



Activation - Associate

Delivering Impact with TV

Based on both the target audience’s consumption habits and the proven track record TV has in delivering brand effect uplift for FMCG brands, we used television as our lead media channel to maximise reach and impact for the lead creative messages.

We used ITV (including Breakfast) in Yorkshire, and Channel 4 and ITV (including Breakfast) in Scotland.

Across each saleshouse we implemented strict channel and programme targeting to ensure our messaging would be visible to both audiences. This led to a natural up-weight in daytime delivery to reach Stay at Home Mums and peak upweights to reach the Busy Female Office Workers.

We replicated this approach in Broadcast VOD, buying distinctly into the different programming that each audience consumed across the on-demand platforms they used.

Activation - Remind

Staying Front of Mind

To drive cost effective additional reach for the messaging, we deployed a tight daypart strategy across FM and digital audio in the test regions. We added an up-weight to morning and evening commute times to reach the Busy Female Office Workers on their way to work and capture in-home or school run listening with Stay at Home Mums.

In addition, we included Thursday to Saturday up-weights to remind the target audiences on key main shopping days.

To support radio, we used digital display to further extend the frequency of the campaign messaging and used daypart targeting to effectively reach both audience groups. We knew that both audiences were active in the morning, whether it be commuting to work or dropping kids off at school. The creative messages were tailored accordingly to each digital audience and served throughout the day to continuously reflect the different tasks and behaviours each audience were conducting throughout their day.

Our research on the audiences shopping habits not only indicated a weekend focused main shop, but a high likelihood to make top-up shops in the early half of the week and so our budget distribution was front loaded across each week.

We also used Paid Social to further increase the message frequency of the campaign, aligning this closely with organic social activity.

Activation - Convert

The Last Window of Influence

To support the in-store promotional and on-shelf activity, we used digital and out-of-home media to remind and bring the brand top-of-mind for consumers on their way to do their weekly shop.

Out-of-home 6 sheets were used at Tesco stores in the test regions and using Dunhumby data, we were able to identify the ‘lighter snacks and meals’ product category purchase times, allowing us to upweight the outdoor activity to key purchase periods. This increased our share of voice from 15% to 20% during these key purchase periods.

In addition to the store outdoor presence, we used mobile display to target our audience in a 3-mile proximity to Tesco stores. Using historical location data, we targeted consumers previously seen at Tesco stores in the test regions to increase the relevancy of the ads being serve.



To measure the performance of the activity, we used several data points to truly understand both brand effect and sales uplift for the campaign. We measured sales performance with Kantar Worldpanel and brand effect uplift from a pre-and-post brand tracking study conducted by ResearchBods.

Brand Effect

The study showed that the advertising cut through effectively and delivered significant uplift to consideration, brand perceptions and purchase intent in the test regions.

At a National level, core brand measures were stable or falling back, highlighting the positive regional shifts driven by the campaign.

Awareness that had significantly declined at a National level, was relatively stable in the campaign regions and more importantly the regions saw significant increases in the brand measures the campaign was designed to alter; brand salience, consideration and purchase intent.

Additionally, the primary core brand associations improved significantly between waves for ad recognisers, particularly health related messaging. The percentages below show the percentages of ad recognisers that identified them with the brand;

* Low in fat, 62%
* Quick and easy to make, 56%
* Tastes great, 49%
* Low in calories, 48%
* Healthy, 41%

Sales Performance

While it is important to understand claimed purchase in the campaign regions, to truly understand the commercial impact of the campaign we referred to Kantar sales data. In the test regions, Kantar data showed strong uplifts for Mug Shot in both Value and Unit sales across the top 4 retailer accounts (Tesco, ASDA, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons) versus the non-campaign regions.

The campaign delivered penetration growth of 50% in the test regions, which equates to an additional 102,000 households adding the brand to their repertoire. These gains were made primarily from taking share from 3 core competitors; Batchelors, Uncle Bens and Own Label.

Value Sales
+16.7% in Campaign Regions
-10.4% in Non-Campaign Regions

Unit Sales
+33.2% in Campaign Regions
+33.2% in Non-Campaign Regions

During the campaign, the brand outperformed both the declining category and competitors including category leader Pot Noodle;

Strong brand performance (up c.20%) vs, Category (down -6%)

OL Ins Hot Snacks -22%
Instant Hot Snacks -6%
Mugshot Sachet 19%
Total Mugshot 15%
Pot Noodle 6%
Batchelors -10%

The future for Mug Shot

The performance of the campaign was so strong that a follow-up campaign, with triple the budget, rolled out in January 2019 across the entire North of England and Scotland.

We were at a critical point of Mug Shot’s brand development when we began working with Carat. Not only were we operating in an extremely competitive marketplace, we had challenging internal targets to meet to ensure continual investment in the brand. Carat played an integral role in the most important Mug Shot campaign we’ve ever run, leading the strategic planning and buying approach that delivered results beyond our expectations and have given the wider business the confidence to increase investment in the brand.

Kevin Butterworth Marketing Director, Symingtons
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