Hedgehog Hall of Fame: Havas PR UK - The Return of Leigh Toaster Cheese
30th August 2013
Company: Havas PR UK Campaign: The Return of Leigh Toaster Cheese Category: Community Engagement Campaign of the Year - North - WINNER Objective • Strongly communicate Asda’s investment in the community • Continue to forge strong relationships with community groups in the Leigh area • Drive sales at our Leigh store • Drive loyalty of the existing customer base (both main and secondary shoppers) Target Audience Building insight around a specific community requires field research and to do this, Havas PR UK has created our unique ‘Community Report’. Taking a look at the immediate area around the supercentre, we visited the site and carried out desk research to complement this, producing a guide to the local community that supplemented our commercial client brief. One thing from our research that stood out as having a real link to the community that would benefit our client but would also have a positive impact on the lives of people in Leigh. This was that their once famous local cheese, the Leigh Toaster, had died out in the face of larger generic cheeses and hadn’t been seen for more than 20 years, despite a rich history which saw it referenced in texts hundreds of years ago. Our opinion was that if we could work with a local supplier to bring back the cheese, then Asda would have a unique link to the local community that its competitors wouldn’t be able to match. To test the theory we held a small customer listening group at the store where we were told, unanimously, that Leigh Toaster would be welcomed back with open arms. Action Asda was delighted with the campaign platform: The Return of Leigh Toaster Cheese, yet in order to ensure this was authentic we decided that creatively, this had to come ‘from the community’. To enable this we: • Got in touch with Dewlay, the Lancashire Cheese Supplier who Asda had existing links with • Visited Wigan and Leigh archives to meet their team and secure old images and historical facts about the cheese • Visited Wigan and Leigh Council to pitch the idea to the leader of the Council, Lord Peter Smith This process started in April and we aimed to launch it just in time for Lancashire Day on 25th Nov. After an initial meeting and several conference calls, we received sign off from Asda and Dewlay for the cheese to go in to production. With this exciting news to hand, we then began work on creating a media event at the Leigh store to officially launch the cheese. We decided to hold this event on a Thursday and soft-launch the cheese the Monday prior, so we could measure the impact of the PR and event. A Thursday was also chosen as the best day for the media to attend the event, a day after their deadline. To ensure we got both pre and post coverage, we decided to hold a ‘sneak peek’ taster session in store for key local journalists unable to land coverage the day of the event. This resulted in front page coverage the day of the event. The event itself was based around Lord Peter Smith, leader of the council, joining Asda colleagues to have the first cheese toastie since the return of the cheese. Hot toastie sampling was booked based on our research that in times gone by, Leigh Toaster had a distinct and bubbly texture when warm – which, of course, led to the name ‘Leigh Toaster’! Havas PR UK managed the event which featured three local media outlets and, as importantly, local community bloggers from Leigh Life. We made sure that everyone got not only a story, but a tasty block of cheese to take home also. Results Before looking at media coverage and sales, let’s examine the reaction from the community in Leigh: Cheese suppliers: Great news. I have just been into store and seen the product on shelf. Whilst talking with the GSM 3 x sales in 10 minuets. Very satisfying and most popular launch I’ve ever done. Leader of Wigan Council: "I’d like to thank Dewlay cheese makers and Asda for their initiative in bringing back the cheese and giving a boost to Leigh. I shall certainly be putting it on my shopping list." Commercial Manager at Bridgehead Foods (logistics for project): I am very concerned that orders are not keeping pace with demand! Asda regional PR Manager: Jon – this is fantastic – well done. Big well done to Jon for really pushing this through from start to finish. Cheers for your support (hope we’ve got more stock!) David Fairhurst, Asda customer: Dear Sirs My wife and I visited Leigh over the weekend - I was born in Leigh in 1938. I read about the Leigh Toaster and popped quickly round to Asda to make a purchase. I was disappointed to find the shelf was empty, not an ounce on sale. A member of staff checked in the warehouse, none there either. So we had to continue our journey bake home to Stratford upon Avon without any cheese. Am I able to purchase some by mail order, or shall I have to contain my curiosity till February 2013 when we plan to pay our next visit to the homeland. The empty shelves is good news for you but not for me, can't wait to taste some. Yours empty handed. David Fairhurst Naturally, we sent David Fairhurst some cheese to enjoy with his family but his response was typical of many we have received since the launch; positive, excited and making a real splash in the local community, not just a PR award entry without any substance. To back up this claim, here is the sales data for the cheese, clearly showing a massive spike since our earned media coverage landed. Or, as the logistics manager himself said: "One thousand Leigh Toaster cheeses have been sold, an incredible rate of more than 240 a week. This is above and beyond expectations for a local line and has led Asda to also offer the product at stores in Rhyl, Sefton, Skelmersdale, St Helens, Warrington, Westbrook, Widnes, Wigan and Winsford." To drive these sales we achieved the front page and a page 5 lead in the Leigh Journal, a full page in the Leigh Reporter, a follow-up in the Wigan Evening Post, The Bolton News, a scoop in The Grocer and online blog reviews on the Leigh Life forum and Leigh Independent website – all negotiated by Havas PR UK. We believe ‘social media’ and blogs should be engaged in the same way as traditional media, meaning as well as the blog coverage we also seeded the story and cheese samples to local foodies on Twitter, achieving some great responses such as: Hey @DewlayCheese #leightoaster made the cover of this weeks @leighjournal! Fame at last! RT @Orbot79: @DewlayCheese Been gobsmacked about how tasty that Leigh Toaster cheese is! Just had some for supper yum Leigh Toaster is back on the shelves at Asda Overall we believe that PR surpassed Asda’s brief, creatively achieving a unique community link which not only drove sales at Asda but brought back something which local people love – and that is worth more than a million pounds in ‘AVE’ or other flawed evaluation techniques. URL http://www.theboltonnews.co.uk/news/northwest/10012185.Cheese_is_the_toast_of_the_town/ The PRmoment Golden Hedgehog Awards 2014 are now open for entries. Here are this years updated categories.