How heritage brands are re-engaging customers

22nd February, 2016

Cadbury have recently announced their new Milk Tray man – a 39-year old fireman from Liverpool. It was the result of a nationwide search as part of their £4 million marketing campaign to relaunch the brand for a modern generation.

The Milk Tray man has been around since the late 1960’s, where the character enjoyed 30 years of James Bond-esque antics, all to deliver his lady her favourite box of chocolates. But for over a decade he has been missing from our screens as the brand fell into the annals of time – a common fate for those that seem to lose relevancy with modern audiences.

But brand comebacks are becoming big business in advertising, and Milk Tray is one of several recent high-profile examples of brands challenging their marketing agencies to conceive creative strategies that re-start customer conversations, which have lain dormant for years.

Milk Tray have done this wonderfully with a national competition to find their new brand ambassador, launched by a TV advertisement and tongue-firmly-in-cheek boot camp video featuring celebrities Joey Essex and Spencer Matthews. Social campaigns are a no-brainer when it comes to recruitment drives, and Twitter was Cadbury’s platform of choice, which exploded with entries and shares. 

Smells like good marketing

Old-Spice famously re-branded itself in 2010 with the now legendary “Smell like a man, man” campaign that became a cultural phenomenon. Old-Spice, a 75-year old brand, was losing relevance with young men, until almost overnight, one ad had the sort of brand response marketers dream: 2700% increase in Twitter followers, 800% Facebook interaction, and 300% increase traffic to the brand’s website.

They may be high profile, but the above examples show that with good planning, the appropriate marketing strategy, and the right conversation, heritage brands can achieve the levels of customer engagement and interaction they may have not seen in years.

It’s a challenge we at Alchemy, a Yorkshire-based integrated agency, are certainly up for. With the Federation of Small Businesses, we breathed new life into a 40-year old brand by giving it a new logo, updated look and feel, and an invigorated tone of voice that resonated with modern business owners.

See how we did it here, and get in touch if it’s something we can do for your brand.

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