Fisherman’s Friend was created by pharmacist James Lofthouse in 1865 to help Fleetwood’s fishermen cope with the freezing conditions they often encountered in the inhospitable waters of the North Atlantic. Soon after, they would not put to sea without supplies of what they called their ‘friend’. Today, over five billion of these lozenges are enjoyed every year in over 100 countries.
Fisherman’s Friend’s unique strength emanates from its high proportion of menthol and eucalyptus. The Fox Kalomaski Crossing (FKC) campaign objective was for millions of loyal customers to keep enjoying Fisherman’s Friend as well as gaining an even wider market for this uniquely appealing product.
Consumers around the world are becoming more excited by strong, challenging and unique flavours. Fisherman’s Friend could realistically satisfy this demand with an unambiguous proposition that communicated the product’s dramatic strength and appeal in a campaign that also evoked the brand's long history and deep-rooted British heritage.
The decision was made to exploit the visual potential of TV advertising to communicate, with simplicity and clarity, the strength of the Fisherman’s Friend taste experience. To exploit the advertising equity developed in the TV commercials, it was decided to extend into social media linked with a Facebook promotion partnering the fast-expanding nationwide Papa John’s Pizza restaurant network.
The campaign targeted those looking for an exceptionally strong and challenging taste, and also those attracted and intrigued by the Fisherman’s Friend brand’s uniquely British, traditional qualities of strength and honesty. Two TV commercials broadcast in January and February 2012 both carried the strapline ‘Talk about strong!’ One featured a cranky British taxi driver, and the other featured plucky British foundry workers, emphasising the industrial strength of the Fisherman’s Friend lozenge.
The commercials focussed on the facial expressions, in split-screen format, of the participants experiencing the powerful taste of Fisherman’s Friend.
Then, sampling packs of lozenges and competition details were distributed to major Papa John’s outlets inviting customers to enter Fisherman’s Friend Taste-Look Competition on Facebook by showing themselves experiencing the powerful taste. The funniest ‘Taste-Look’ won a ‘breathtaking day-out with three friends’. Facebook advertising drove consumers to Facebook.com/FishermansFriendUK.
FKC Strategy Director, Robert Thackery, explains, “We wanted to encourage consumers to try Fisherman’s Friend and share their very own experience with others in an amusing way that reflects and promotes the TV campaign and motivate them to engage with the brand on Facebook.”
The combination of TV advertising and complementary digital marketing activity resulted in dramatically increased consumer engagement with the Fisherman’s Friend brand, as well as making the campaign go viral.
And critically, despite a 10% decline in the medicated throat sweet market due to the lack of coughs and colds during this time, Fisherman’s Friend sales increased by 14% over the two month key period.
Lofthouse of Fleetwood’s Chairman, Doreen Lofthouse, comments, “We were all very impressed by Fox Kalomaski Crossing’s creativity, which cleverly reflects the brand’s traditional virtues.”
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