Whittaker’s – It’s about emotion

 

“Television is still a very cost efficient means of getting to a mass audience. But what’s equally important, particularly for us, is you can get the emotional values of the brand through on television, which is difficult to do through digital media.” Philip Poole, Whittaker’s Marketing Manager.

Remember the beautiful blond girl and handsome black guy, swinging naked through the trees before plunging into a dark brown and white pool of luxurious looking liquids? Whittaker’s Ebony and Ivory television advertisement caused many a heart to flutter in the lounges of middle New Zealand last year.

It also got social networking sites buzzing, led to a few complaints and was featured as the introductory piece to Fair Go’s annual ad awards.


Whittaker's Ebony & Ivory Television Commercial created by Assignment Group.

The ad was designed to launch Whittaker’s new “Ghana Peppermint” product, and it worked – Whittaker’s Ghana Peppermint is now one of the biggest sellers in the chocolate block market.

Philip Poole, Whittaker’s Marketing Manager says without television advertising the Ghana Peppermint block’s launch would never have been so successful. “It would’ve taken a lot, lot longer.

“Assuming the creative is great and the media buying is great, television can really get you high impact quickly.”

For Poole, television advertising is a no-brainer when it comes to selling chocolate. Chocolate is an emotional purchase and this emotion must be communicated in any marketing programme if it’s going to achieve results, he says. “Television is still a very cost efficient means of getting to a mass audience. But what’s equally important, particularly for us, is you can get the emotional values of the brand through on television, which is difficult to do through digital media.”

Though Whittaker’s advertising company Assignment Group makes a point of saying it doesn’t enter awards, in the last couple of years Whittaker’s television ads have been regularly shared and discussed positively on social networking sites and among advertising aficionados. In April the company took the top spot in the Ad Impact Awards for the company’s amusing take on Kiwi honesty in its “Swear by the Slab” campaign.

Poole says results from its television advertising campaigns have been exceptionally positive. “In terms of sales, we’ve had big percentage increases.” The campaigns used a combination of television advertising and digital (through Facebook and Twitter) but television was by far the largest component, he says.

“Whittaker’s is a relatively small brand and we’re up against some very, very big multinationals, who have got much deeper pockets than we have, so we have to ensure our advertising is impactful, but still relevant and really resonates with consumers.”

Television advertising doesn’t need to cost the earth if you’re clever about what you do and who you hire to help you, says Poole. “You can really target your audience quite well on television. We are very selective in the types of programmes we go into. You shouldn’t just use it like a shotgun.”

Being creative is important. If the advertising is bland, it’s not going to have an impact, he says. “It goes back to it being a package. If television is in your strategy, make sure you’ve got creative that’s worthwhile and have got an effective media placement campaign as well. Then television advertising can be very, very effective.”

Additional information

Advertiser  –  J. H. Whittaker and Sons, Ltd, www.whittakers.co.nz

Creative agency  –  Assignment Group

Media buying agency  –  McCready Bale Media (MBM)

About the Author

Lesley Springall is a business journalist and freelance writer with nearly 20 years experience in corporate writing and journalism. In 2010 she was voted New Zealand MPA Business Journalist of the Year.