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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.