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Branston Pickle’s limited edition Jubilee packaging is PR success

Antics Roadshow took a break over the long weekend (well-earned, I can assure you). But now that we’re all back into the swing, the stand-out brand performance of the Royal celebration could not go unmarked.

Of all the Jubilee-related PR high jinx and chicanery, the late-comer to the party was Branston Pickle, who appear to have taken a leaf out of the Marmite school of stuntery with their limited edition (60 jars, available only through Facebook) jar that plays “God Save the Queen” when opened.

That said, while it may have arrived at the very last minute – in the week running up to the Jubilee, it was fashionably late and managed to clean-up when it came to the media.

A gem of a piece of PR, in anyone’s book …

Why’s it work?
 

Well, for a start, the brand helps.

Like Marmite, Bird’s Custard, Hovis and a host of other heritage brands still going strong, Branston commands enormous affection. That means they get away with an awful lot in PR terms that others would never pull off.

Somehow, there is a willingness amongst the media to forgive the blatant commercial push for brands like this. And smart agencies and brand managers have come to exploit that hallowed position in the British psyche – able to get people talking by adding a dash of creative thinking to their charges.

But it’s also a bloody clever little idea, let’s make no mistake.

While we’ve seen brands revert to 1952 packaging, release limited Jubilee editions (Ma’amite being the most-publicised example), Branston had the brains (and the balls) to spend the money to create something that lived and died not by whether it sold but by whether or not it got ink – and got people talking.

In those terms, the return on the packaging spend was an investment well and truly worth making.

The other lesson for me that we should take from Branston’s success is that a neat idea need not be complicated to work. Too often ideas like this never see the light of day because agency or client get caught up in the processes and costs of actually trying to sell the product in retail.

Branston’s smarts was to avoid getting themselves into such a pickle by concocting a campaign where the investment was as low as was needed to get the ink.

The reminder is there that our job is to work out just how little can be done to get the desired result – as ever, keeping the execution of a clever idea simple is the key to success.

James Gordon-MacIntosh is a managing partner at Hope&Glory PR and from time-to-time pens Spinning Around, a blog that he describes as “thinking out loud”

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