BIGGEST BRANDS: Jane Bainbridge reports on how ACNielsen’s data reveals some dramatic changes for the UK’s top FMCG brands in the new century. (1 of 2)

The annual Biggest Brands survey, compiled by ACNielsen exclusively for Marketing, has added poignancy this year as it provides an insight into the state of FMCG brands in the UK at the end of a century of consumerism.

The annual Biggest Brands survey, compiled by ACNielsen exclusively

for Marketing, has added poignancy this year as it provides an insight

into the state of FMCG brands in the UK at the end of a century of


The data provided in these tables gives the most comprehensive overview

of grocery brands for the year. It also lets us track which brands are

faring best in this competitive world and which sectors are falling prey

to the own-label onslaught. Some brands have been categorised slightly

differently this year, so there are a few changes.

As usual, we are presenting the top 50 British brands for the year to

April 2000, as well as looking at the top 20 fastest-growing brands, and

over 20 individual sectors in detail.

In the top 50 brands table, there is generally little change from year

to year. Some slowly slide downward as they fail to adapt their brand

and marketing message in the changing retail environment; others

successfully hold on to prime positions year in, year out. Coca-Cola is,

of course, one of the latter.

Love it, or hate it, there is no denying Coca-Cola’s marketing


The brand and business may be going through a tricky time

internationally, but in the UK, it’s thriving.

After last year’s slight dip in sales, this year’s growth of almost 10%

is an excellent performance for such a mature brand, especially given

its year of global suffering. It began badly in June 1999 with the

Belgian contamination scare and went on to suffer a drop in share price,

an anti-trust probe in Italy and an alleged case of racism at its

Atlanta headquarters.

Chief executive Doug Ivester was kicked out and Douglas Daft brought in

to take charge.

But in the UK, its bold marketing changes seem to have paid off. The

company’s strategy has been to concentrate on key areas including

advertising, graphics, and sponsorship and promotions. Most of all, its

policy of giving local offices more autonomy, while its fellow

multinationals are opting for globalisation, seems to be paying off. The

UK got its own Diet Coke campaign, created by Wieden & Kennedy London

and aimed at broadening the appeal of the drink to men.

The significance of the departure of UK marketing director Andrew

Harrison to Nestle Rowntree this May will not be evident until next

year’s survey, but he has left the UK operations in good shape and with

the promise of more growth to come.

The number two slot has been retained by PepsiCo’s Walkers crisps brand,

which enjoyed a respectable growth of 6.5% year-on-year.

Its performance is testament to the value of long-running advertising

campaigns and fresh NPD and promotional activity. The Gary Lineker

advertising - now in the Abbott Mead Vickers fold - continues to retain

its sharp humour, despite being in its fourth year.

It isn’t until we get to third place that there is any change from last

year. Nescafe has moved up to the number three spot despite a 7% fall in

sales. The reason for this bizarre state of affairs is that Nescafe has

publicly repositioned all its products within the Nescafe brand this

year. In previous years, Nescafe Original and Nescafe Gold Blend were

treated as separate brands.

At fourth, not surprisingly given its phenomenal growth in recent years,

Whitbread’s Stella Artois brand leaps above Persil and Andrex. Its 23.6%

growth puts Stella firmly in the big league of brands and well ahead of

its nearest rival, Carling, which is also performing well, with over 20%

growth. Budweiser and Foster’s also make it into the top 50.

Lever Brothers’ Persil has remained fairly static this year (+0.7%),

which is why it has slipped slightly in the rankings. The performance

looks especially poor compared with 1999’s growth of 23.6%.

However, given that much of the growth last year was due to sales of its

new tablet variant, it was probably inevitable that the market would

level out this year. It is predicted that tablets will account for 30%

of the market by the end of 2000.

P&G’s rival to Persil, Ariel, held on to its tenth spot with a growth of

2.7%. However, this was a big improvement on last year’s 10% drop in

sales, when Ariel struggled without its own tablet version. Ariel

tablets hit the shelves in May 1999 and their sales have helped turn

around the brand’s fortunes.

Pot dessert brand Muller continues to climb the top 50 table, with 20%

growth in a year that saw it sack its advertising agency, Saatchi &

Saatchi, and give the business to Publicis. Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer

were axed from the ad campaign and Joanna Lumley was reinstated. Ken

Wood, managing director of Muller, said at the time that he wanted

Publicis to do more strategic development of the Muller brand and that

he was looking for organic growth in the desserts and fromage frais


Meanwhile, looking after babies’ bottoms has become an extremely

lucrative market for P&G and Kimberly-Clark. While Pampers is still

achieving almost double the sales of Huggies, it has a fight on its

hands. Pampers sales dropped over 4%, compared with Huggies’ phenomenal

growth of over 30% - making it the biggest grower in the top 50. This is

even more impressive given that its ad budget was pounds 2m shy of

Pampers’ this year.

Kit Kat has been on the UK market since 1935, when it launched under the

name of Rowntree’s Chocolate Crisp. It was renamed Kit Kat two years

later and now enjoys the status of best-selling chocolate bar. So to

achieve a growth of 27% is no mean feat.

Much of its success this year is down to Kit Kat Chunky, which was

launched in April 1999. Demand was so great for the new variety that

Nestle Rowntree struggled to meet retailers’ orders. The combination of

the new product and renewed support of the classic Kit Kat saw its

adspend almost double from last year.

Kit Kat’s nearest rival is now Cadbury’s Dairy Milk. It leapt up the

table to number 14, despite sales remaining virtually static. This is

because confectionery has been reclassified.

Whereas in previous years Cadbury Fruit and Nut was treated as a

separate brand to Whole Nut, this year all Cadbury Diary Milk brands

have been counted as one. Hence the total value of the brand has


Mars climbed one spot to 29 as it successfully turned a 4.2% decline in

sales for the year to April 99 into a 4.4% rise this time around. It

adopted the now familiar confectionery strategy of bringing out limited

editions such as its Mars Dark & Gold brands last August, and in October

it kicked off a price-marking initiative.

The soft drinks sector is generally booming, with most of the familiar

names in the top 50 increasing sales. There’s Coca-Cola in the top slot,

followed by a relatively static Pepsi, and Britvic’s Robinson’s brand

has boosted its sales by 10%. Its activity this year has included extra

support over the winter months to push sales in the traditionally lean

time, by focusing on vitamins added to the squash.

Similarly, SmithKline Beecham’s Ribena achieved a 9% growth. Rumours

have been rife that Ribena may be sold following the merger of SKB and

Glaxo Wellcome, but so far the company is denying this, saying it is

committed to the drinks business. The biggest NPD project it carried out

was to introduce the Ribena Smoothie, aimed at 11- to 14-year-olds, in


It was the wonder launch from 1998, Sunny Delight, that has suffered the

most among the big soft drinks brands. When it entered the top 50 table

last year, it became the most successful global brand launch of the

decade, storming in with 5224% growth.

But slipping three places in the table this year, the P&G brand lost

sales of almost 10%. No doubt P&G will want to halt that decline, but it

was inevitable that sales would start levelling out and with annual

sales worth over pounds 140m, it is still a brand to be reckoned


Britvic has launched a rival product onto the market, called Juice Up,

which may further dent Sunny D’s position next year.

Away from the bottle and into the kettle, Tetley Tea has had a poor

year, with sales sliding almost 7% and PG Tips outselling it by about

pounds 15m a year. But Indian company Tata Group bought Tetley for

pounds 271m in March.

No significant changes are expected in the UK, where Tata says it will

continue with the Tetley teafolk ads, but its sights are set on

expanding the brand into the US.

Birds Eye Wall’s Ice Cream makes its debut at number 19, with over

pounds 130m worth of sales. Its sudden entry, however, is not just a

consequence of an uplift in sales of 23.1%, but also because the data

for these brands has not been included in Biggest Brands before.

Birds Eye Frozen Vegetables has entered the top 50 for the first time at

number 33. Last year, ACNielsen just looked at Birds Eye Peas - which

was not a big enough seller to make the top 50 - whereas this year the

database has expanded to include all frozen vegetables.

Elsewhere in the grocery sector, Kraft Foods’ ever-expanding portfolio

of processed cheese products under the Dairylea brand has pushed its way

into the top 50 British grocery brands with a 16% rise in sales. Clever

product development and marketing by Kraft has helped establish the

cheese snack market, which is now worth about pounds 75m.

Moving from those brands climbing the table to those slipping down it,

Anchor wins the ignominious prize of suffering the greatest loss in

sales of those featured in the top 50 table. A drop of 10.6% has seen

the butter brand fall ten positions. Last year, its sales were down over


The yellow fats market has been under attack for some time from products

marketing themselves as healthier options to butter. New Zealand Milk

tried to boost Anchor’s sales with price cuts in October, and in the

same month launched a spreadable Anchor Organic. But as none of these

moves reversed its fortunes, the company took more drastic measures.

It sacked its agency of 14 years, Saatchi & Saatchi, and announced in

March a pounds 10m campaign through WCRS, as well as a new logo and


Next year’s sales will show whether the work, using the new strapline

’It’s in our nature’, has successfully convinced consumers that Anchor

is a natural option. Michaelides & Bednash won the media strategy

business, although Zenith retained media buying.

Brands that have slipped out of the top 50 altogether include Kellogg’s

Corn Flakes, St Ivel Shape, Tampax, Always and Mr Kipling. Outside the

top 50, we’ve also identified the 20 fastest-growing brands, as


Hipp Baby Food - 199.2%

This German company is now the largest processor of organic products in

the world. It first brought its baby food to the UK in 1995 and is now

the best-selling organic baby food range on the market. While organic

produce has been gaining market share, it has been particularly acute in

the baby food market, where food scares and parental concern have all

helped fuel sales. Hipp’s philosophy has also made good marketing sense

Its price is such that consumers do not have to pay big premiums for

organic foods compared with non-organic products. It now has 49 jar

variants. The company has targeted its advertising at the mother and

baby press and to a lesser extent at health professionals.

Banrock Station - 164.8%

BRL Hardy Wine Company launched its range of Banrock Station wines in

the UK in January 1999. Positioned as an easy-drinking, value-for-money

wine, it is aimed at the mass market. However, Banrock Station has set

itself apart in this market by linking itself to the environment. This

started off with its Wine and Wetland Centre in Southern Australia. From

May this year, it has given a donation to the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust

for every bottle or box of wine sold in the UK. It ran a national

cinema, press and London Underground campaign in autumn last year.

Blossom Hill - 143.3%

The Californian wine brand has been on sale in the UK since 1992, but

had substantial marketing support this past year to meet UDV’s Percy Fox

division’s target of 50% growth. As its place as the third-fastest

growing brand shows, it has more than achieved this. In November,

Delaney Potter Cawley created the first above-the-line advertising for

the brand, which ran in the national and regional press and on posters.

UDV is also trying to boost Blossom Hill’s presence in the five big

multiple grocers.

Yeo Valley - 85.6%

For the second year running, Yeo Valley has made it into the

fastest-growing brands list. In 1999, it won its place with an

impressive 34% hike in sales, which it has easily bettered this year

with 85.6% growth. Its success is yet more proof, if it is needed, of

organic produce’s phenomenal rise. Although the company has only existed

since 1996, the brand is now achieving over pounds 20m sales and is

easily the best-selling branded organic yoghurt. This year it has added

virtually fat-free organic fruit yoghurt to its range, which includes

yoghurt, creme fraiche and frozen yoghurt. The company attributes much

of its success to the products’ competitively priced positioning

compared with non-organic yoghurts. It is now said to be looking for a

creative and media agency, so we may see more marketing support for the

brand in the coming year.

White Lightning - 69.8%

Another brand to make it into the fastest-growing list two years

running, and this time with better growth than in 1999. HP Bulmer has

boosted marketing spend behind its leading cider brands. Cider has

continued to turn its fortunes around and White Lightening has benefited

from a relaunch. Two years ago the brand was given new packaging and

design to move it from a commodity white cider to a brand. The higher

price positioning and brand franchise made it more attractive to both

retailers and consumers alike.

It is aimed at the 18- to 24-year old market and since its relaunch,

Bulmer says it has achieved a 20% volume growth. It is now investing in

TV advertising for the first time, but over the past year much of its

promotional activity - especially in the cash and carry sector - has

focused on its race horse called Go White Lightning.

Rosemount - 69.1%

Rosemount is the third wine brand to make it into this list and another

one doing well from the general Australian sector growth. Positioned as

a premium product, Rosemount uses the line ’Prestige wine of Australia’

on its labels. Its cheapest wine starts at pounds 5.99. The brand has

been on sale in the UK since 1983. Its extensive range consists of 32

wines, some for the consumer market and some for the on-trade. However,

it is its Diamond blends that are its most successful. The company’s

message is one of consistent quality and a wine that consumers can rely


Amoy Oriental Foods - 65.9%

HP Foods launched Amoy’s biggest ever marketing programme at the

beginning of this year, with pounds 5m worth of support for the range of

Chinese food products. It also extended its Straight to Wok range to

include vegetables and more variants of noodles and sauces. At the end

of last year, it pushed brand awareness to a new level with the launch

of an Amoy Noodle Restaurant in London.

Winalot - 61.2%

This is the second year running the Friskies Petcare dog food brand has

made it into the fastest-growing products. This year’s growth is very

much down to the same factors as last year, a mixture of product

innovation and promotional activity. It has expanded its Digestion+

recipe across its full range of products and launched a puppy variety of

its Digestion+ Chunks in Jelly brand.

Dancake - 58.5%

Carrs Foods family cake brand continues its fabulous growth, this year

improving on the 41% growth that made it the 12th fastest-growing brand

in 1999. Once again, the story is the same: no above-the-line

advertising, with all marketing activity concentrating on price

promotions. ’Buy one, get one free’ has been the preferred mechanic this

year. Its half moon cake - half a full-sized cake - has continued to

boost sales.

Lindemans - 52.9%

While Southcorp Wine’s brand is clearly not lacking in direct rivals in

this list, it is perhaps the wine brand with the most concerted

marketing behind it. Not only is Lindemans one of the ’gold’ sponsors of

the British Olympic team at the Sydney 2000 games, it has also supported

the brand with a major direct mail campaign.

Australia’s largest wine producer has broken new ground in this sector

by trialing a door-drop campaign through Jones Mason Barton Antenen. It

wants to reach ABC1 experimentalists and raise the profile of Australian

wines in general, as they have often been seen as inferior to French. It

is also understood to be in negotiations with major off-licence chains

to create a national direct mail campaign to promote Antipodean wine


Memory Lane - 50.8%

Most of the growth for this cake brand has come from its celebration

cakes, according to managing director Dave Brooks. ’The concept sells

it, rather than the brand, so retailers are less interested in

own-brand. We helped pioneer the market several years ago,’ he says.

However, the company has not rested on its laurels, and in March brought

out its new 15-portion tray bake of cakes with buttercream.

Goodfella’s Frozen Pizza - 49.0%

Last year it was Chicago Town Frozen Pizza which featured as one of the

fastest-growing brands, but this year it’s the turn of Green Isle’s


The frozen food sector has been enjoying a bit of a renaissance the past

year or so and the Goodfella’s brand has been well supported. In

particular it introduced its Pizza Pie and invested pounds 5m in the

launch. This included TV advertising and a heavy-weight sampling


Dry Blackthorn - 46.4%

This Matthew Clark brand hasn’t quite matched last year’s growth of

95.5%, but it has added over pounds 5m in sales, leading to a perfectly

respectable 46.4% growth. On the marketing side, the brand became an

official sponsor of last summer’s eclipse when it sponsored all Granada

Sky Broadcasting’s programming for the day. This year has also seen

D’Arcy’s TV advertising for the cider brand hit the screen, with the

strapline ’When you’re on top form: Blackthorn’, featuring a group of

lads using cardboard cut-outs of celebrities to blag their way into a


Loyd Grossman Pasta Sauce - 44.6%

Loyd Grossman’s pasta sauce brand, manufactured by Chivers Hartley,

first hit the UK’s supermarket shelves in 1995. Since then, the range

has expanded to include dressings, pan fry sauces and Thai cooking

sauces. But it is the original pasta sauces that are growing

particularly well. The convenience of ready-made pasta sauces has pushed

their market share, especially as pasta has become a staple of kitchen

cupboards, with over 70% of UK households estimated to buy pasta. The

brand was given a new pack design last year and in February made its TV

debut with a pounds 1m campaign starring Grossman himself. A further

pounds 1m will support the brand in a press campaign later this year. In

its battle against the likes of Dolmio, Ragu and Sacla, Loyd Grossman

provides extensive consumer information via its web site, recipe

information line, leaflets and on-pack.

Dr Pepper - 42.8%

Coca-Cola acquired the Dr Pepper brand from Cadbury Schweppes in

September 1999 when it spent dollars 700m (pounds 464m) buying Cadbury

Schweppes’ beverages brands outside the US. The brand has been supported

with advertising and promotions, particularly aimed at the teenage

market. Last August, Young & Rubicam created a pounds 2m press campaign

using the line ’Impress her with a big one’, which ran in youth

magazines such as Sugar, Smash Hits, Bliss and TV Hits.

It was part of a broader on-pack promotion called ’Just can’t get

enough’ aimed at encouraging consumers to buy bigger bottles of Dr

Pepper to drink at home.

Old El Paso Mexican Foods - 41.4%

Pillsbury’s Mexican food brand once more makes it into the top 20

fastest-growers with another successful year of over 40% growth. The

company continually introduces new additions to the international food

brand to keep it fresh and exciting for consumers. This year it has

built on the success of its launch of Fajita Dinner Kits with two more

as last October, Nachos and Burrito Dinner Kits were added to the

portfolio. Both these dinner kits - which are complete collections of

the products needed for a Mexican meal - were advertised on TV with ads

created by Leo Burnett.

Scrumpy Jack - 37.3%

HP Bulmer’s Scrumpy Jack is the second of its cider brands to make it

into the fastest-growers table. The company’s marketing focus on

higher-priced premium brands this year greatly benefited the brand.

HP Bulmer relaunched Scrumpy Jack last year with new packaging and an

increased adspend. It has also linked the brand with cricket in the UK.

In April, it signed Ian Botham as its official brand spokesman for this

cricket season. This move ties in with its sponsorship of the England

cricket team through its deal with the England & Wales Cricket


Ambi Pur - 37.0%

Sara Lee’s air freshener Ambi Pur first came onto the UK market in

December 1995 and in so doing introduced a new way of scenting a


The plug-in device is designed to provide a constant flow of freshener

to a room and because it requires consumers to purchase refills, it

maintains a level of sales after the initial purchase.

Last year, it was the fifth-fastest growing brand with growth of 105%,

and in this year’s survey, it has continued to build on its sales.

Convenience is the focus for much of the innovation in the household

category, which grew by 9% this year, and Ambi Pur’s product offering

follows this thinking with its plug-in system.

Sara Lee has continued to support the brand and produce new perfume

variants to build sales.

The sectors covered by ACNielsen this year follow the same format as

last, but with one exception. We have added one extra category for

Biggest Brands 2000 in the shape of wine, and fittingly it is the sector

growing the fastest.

Wine - 33.5%

This is an interesting sector to watch as it doesn’t follow the

traditional marketing rule book. Companies have to tread a fine line

where branding is concerned. It is a sector that is uncomfortable with

branding, but as more non-connoisseurs start to drink wine, brands can

give them confidence in their purchases. This category is still

dominated by small specialist players. It is hard to build a premium

because most wines are in the pounds 3 to pounds 5 region. Only 17% of

the total category value is taken up by the top ten brands, the lowest

of all the sectors covered.

Californian brand Ernest & Julio Gallo is the best selling wine brand in

the UK, but there are four in the wine table that make it into the top

20 fastest-growing brands: Banrock Station, Blossom Hill, Rosemount and


It is the new world wines that have worked hardest at establishing

brands, especially as the British were traditionally more likely to

drink European wines. Indeed, French brand Le Piat D’Or - probably the

first wine to go down the branding route - is the only one in this

category to see its sales drop off in the past year. It reached its peak

in the 80s, but wine writers derided the brand.

Beer - 19.3%

The beer category goes from strength to strength, but this is all down

to the phenomenal rise of the lager market in the UK, rather than

traditional beer growth. There seems to be no stopping the appetite of

the Brits for lager. Stella remains the best-selling brand, according to

ACNielsen’s off-licence sales rankings, although Carling and Foster’s

outsell it in the on-trade.

The Stella brand is a good example of the value of steady marketing;

knowing when it’s hit the right message and having the faith to stick

with it.

Its ads are the same, and its film association - which includes Channel

4 sponsorship, outdoor summer screenings and online competitions - is

well established. But things may change following Interbrew’s pounds

400m purchase of Whitbread and its mega-brand in June.

What film is to Stella, football is to Carling. Its pounds 39m contract

with the FA Premier League expires in 2001, but Carling uses its

football association to the full in the less glamorous sides of the

business, such as trade marketing and sales promotion. No doubt its

success will continue next year when sales during Euro 2000 are


Bass has also been highly innovative with its use of relationship

marketing, in the form of the Club Carling campaign through WWAV Rapp

Collins Scotland.

However, one of its riskier ventures was at Christmas when it put its

toe in the water of the tricky low-alcohol sector, with the launch of

Carling Blue. A national roll-out has yet to materialise.

But perhaps the most important change to its marketing will be evident

in the coming year, following its split with its agency of 16 years,

WCRS, which created the classic ’I bet he drinks Carling Black Label’


Foster’s has had a good year with a 27.9% increase in sales. Scottish

Courage has aggressively marketed the brand to try to hit its target of

making it the best-selling lager in the UK. M&C Saatchi’s ’He who thinks

Australian ...’ ads continue, and the brand is the official beer of the

Sydney Olympics.

Toward the end of 1999, Scottish Courage tested a premium version of the

brand called Foster’s Amber.

Boddingtons remains the only bitter to make it into the sector top ten,

and while its sales through off-licences have grown, sales into the

on-trade have dropped by over 5%.

Cider - 18.9%

It seems just a distant memory now, but there was a time when the cider

market was in such decline that many were writing it off. Volume sales

may still mean it is more of a niche drink, and it is still on a

downward spiral in the on-trade, but the sector growth is healthy

through the off-trade.

HP Bulmer and Matthew Clark continue to fight it out for sector

dominance, but it is Bulmer’s Strongbow brand that is still way ahead of

the rest of the field. The company has invested heavily in advertising

the brand this year and it has paid off with growth of over 20%.

However, the best growth has been achieved by White Lightning and Dry

Blackthorn. The only brands to see sales decline are Olde English and

Aston Manor’s Frosty Jack. The latter’s performance has plummeted this

year compared with last, when it recorded an increase of over 136%,

making it the third-fastest growing brand in 1999.

International foods - 18.1%

This category, while growing at an impressive rate, is dominated by its

top ten brands, which account for 96% of the market. Dolmio is still the

leading brand, although every brand, with the exception of Uncle Ben’s

Oriental Sauces, has grown. Its position may be usurped next year as

Amoy’s Oriental Foods range achieved growth of over 65% this year. If

that continues, it could snatch the number ten spot.

Sharwoods has continued to innovate its range, with the launch this

April of a new set of products aimed at filling the gap between Indian

curries and Chinese stir fries. The products include Thai, Malaysian and

Indonesian sauces. It has supported the brand with a press and poster

campaign created by TBWA GGT Simons Palmer.

Pot desserts - 11.7%

Penetration of pot desserts is very high in the UK, with over 90% of

households buying the products. Yoghurts are the largest sector, with

chilled desserts growing the most.

Muller dominates this category and in the past year has proved

particularly successful as it turned a static 1999 performance into 20%

growth. Yeo Valley made it into the fastest growers list as it thrived

on the back of the organic boom taking place in the UK.

Indeed, most of the top ten brands in the category turned in good

growth, with the exception of St Ivel Shape. But St Ivel is fighting

back with new packaging and products introduced at the beginning of the

year. It has also invested in a pounds 5m ad campaign through D’Arcy,

which broke in April.

Paper products - 11.2%

Toilet tissue is a fiercely competitive category, because with total

penetration in households, brands can only fight against each other for

share of the market. And this year Procter & Gamble has shaken up the

market further with two new launches.

Charmin and Bounty both make it into the ten hot brands to watch list,

as well as the top ten of the category. Kimberly-Clark will be watching

Charmin’s position carefully, but with sales of Andrex more than double

its nearest rival, it is in a strong position.

Fort James, so often finding itself in Biggest Brand’s fastest growers

list, has had mixed fortunes this year.

Perhaps it felt P&G’s presence more than Andrex, as its toilet brands

have performed badly this year, with only Kitchen Roll growing well.

Household products - 9.0%

Establishing a brand premium in this sector is a difficult task. The top

ten brands in the category only account for 19% of the whole sector,

with own-label having a huge impact. P&G holds the top two slots with

Fairy and Flash, but in the past year it has focused activity on Flash,

turning a lacklustre 1999 performance into a 17% growth this year.

Soft drinks - 7.5%

Soft drinks is the most valuable of all the FMCG categories looked at in

Biggest Brands, generating pounds 1772m in the year to April 2000. Given

the revenue it makes for the manufacturers, it’s not surprising that it

also has the most adspend of any category - pounds 71m this year.

Coke rules this sector absolutely and has increased its lead even

further on Pepsi this year. Robinsons has had a good year and Britvic

has still more ambitious plans.

In February, it announced pounds 20m investment in a category management

scheme dubbed Right Choice. The work will target four specific markets:

females, children, meal occasions, and variety and value. Britvic thinks

the scheme will achieve up to an extra 3% market share in the next five


Despite much better growth rates this year for Schweppes and Irn-Bru,

they have slipped down the top ten slightly because of Tropicana’s 26%

rise in sales.

Baby products - 6.4%

Brand names control the baby sector, with over 70% of the category made

up of the top ten brands. Among these, there are some famous names for

whom 2000 has proved a very successful year.

Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies brand has fought hard to catch up with arch

rival Pampers. It’s still some way off on sales, but its marketing

tactics have gained it a 30% sales increase. In September, it upgraded

Huggies with a rash protection system. The company also brought in

’extra free’ promotions for the first time in this category, which

proved particularly popular with mums on a budget.

Elsewhere, classic baby brand Johnson’s saw its Baby Wipes make it into

the fastest-growing products, with almost 40% growth. Its ’no more

tears’ message has been promoted on packaging, TV and in-store and usage

is still expanding, with the product being used by mothers as well as

their babies. Sales have also grown with the launch of a better value


Confectionery - 4.7%

Confectionery is a disparate market, with a vast array of brands

fighting for a share. Less than one-third of the total value of the

category is made up by its top ten brands. Kit Kat has built on its

leading position with the launch of Chunky.

But Mars Bar has held its ground against the Nestle Rowntree product’s

strong growth. Mars’ ’Make it happen’ advertising and promotional

campaign, which guaranteed a winner a day between September and the

beginning of 2000, formed the crux of this year’s marketing strategy.

Another success in the Mars fold is its boxed chocolate brand,

Celebrations, which continues to steal share from Cadbury’s declining

Roses brand.

Crisps & snacks - 4.5%

Sales promotion has always been the backbone of marketing in the snack

food sector and this year Walkers invested its most to date in its Star

Wars Part One: The Phantom Menace tie-in.

Among its other successful links has been the Books for Schools

promotion, which it has run in conjunction with The Sun. One interesting

shift in marketing strategy came with its first UK joint advertising

with Pepsi. PepsiCo wants to build the association between soft drinks

and snacks in consumers’ minds.

Elsewhere, KP’s Hula Hoops and Nuts brands have both performed well,

with 11.9% and 10.1% rises in sales respectively.

KP is putting more support behind Hula Hoops in the coming months with a

pounds 7m marketing campaign targeting teenagers, and has ditched the

Self-Righteous Brothers from its advertising. KP has also added organic

nuts to its range to cash in on that area of food growth.

Cereal - 4.0%

Kellogg’s decline in sales has continued this year as it failed to fight

off the combined onslaught of own-label and strong performances from

arch rivals Weetabix and Cereal Partners.

Fierce price promotions hit all players in this category. Weetabix

overtook Kellogg’s Corn Flakes for the first time this year with its

12.5% growth.

Special K continues to be the best performer in the Kellogg portfolio,

although Crunchy Nut turned around its performance and Coco Pops’ 23%

hike in sales brought it into the top ten at the expense of Quaker’s

Sugar Puffs.

Dairy - 1.6%

The top ten brands in this sector have had a mixed bag of fortunes. St

Ivel Gold and Anchor fared the worst, although Van den Bergh’s Flora and

I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter brands also lost share.

Kraft’s Dairylea, on the other hand, reaped the rewards of clever brand

extension and turned a 12% drop in sales for 1999 into a 16% growth this

year. Kraft has particularly concentrated on the children’s market, with

Strip Cheese, Dunkers, Lunchables and more recently the Lunchables Fun

Pack, which includes crackers, drink and chocolates.

Fabric care - 1.6%

Unilever’s decision to remove support from all but a reduced portfolio

of key brands is evident in this sector. Radion was earmarked as a poor

performer and has had marketing support pulled away. Unilever wants

existing Radion consumers to switch to its Surf brand as Radion slips

away and Surf has certainly seen sales grow this year at over 20%.

Unilever is also winning at the top of the group, as Persil held on to

its best-selling position, ahead of Ariel. Growth has slowed, but

Unilever has continued with NPD. It began in July 1999, when it replaced

Persil Performance tablets with a two-layer tablet including a new

ingredient, Whiteguard. The following month, it launched Persil Silk &

Wool. The concentrated formula for its brands were ditched last year as

that sector of the category went into steady decline.

Ariel may have to increase its support of the brand to close the gap

with Persil, as its adspend is one-third that of the market leader.

P&G’s other detergent brands are really struggling: Bold’s sales dropped

7% and Daz dropped over 6%.

In April, P&G ditched its long-running value communication in the form

of its ’money waster’ ads for the Bold detergent and conditioner brand,

opting instead for ads focusing on its fragrances, created by Grey.

Hot beverages - -2.1%

It doesn’t seem to matter what new development the likes of Nestle and

Tetley come out with, nothing can stop the decline of this sector.

Nescafe continues to try to stem the flow. In May, it relaunched Gold

Blend with a pounds 6m marketing drive through McCann-Erickson. Its

method of manufacturing the coffee has also been altered, as the company

installed new processing technology that took nine years and millions of

pounds of investment. Nestle claims the reformulated and redesigned

coffee has a fresher flavour and stronger aroma, and its new ad campaign

focuses on those messages. The Original brand has also been busy. It

launched Nescafe Ice in March aimed at 16- to 34-year-olds who have

outgrown fizzy drinks. It has also continued its celebs-based TV ads,

with Chris Eubank joining the fray. McCann-Erickson won the work from

Publicis in May 1999. Other branding work has included branching out

into coffee houses and signing a pounds 5m sponsorship deal with Channel

4 for Friends.

Where Nescafe is failing, Kenco is succeeding, and Kenco Rappor is a

direct attack on Nescafe Original.


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