Vegemite won the Brand Extension Award at the 2009 National Australian Marketing Institute (AMI) Awards for Marketing Excellence.
Vegemite is an iconic Australian product, selling almost 23 million jars in 2008. However, household penetration had been declining for the first time in 20 years.
Kraft discovered that Vegemite wasn’t engaging with new Australians; children were no longer being brought up on the spread.
With the help of Multicultural Marketing and Management (MMM), Kraft developed a communication strategy that engaged with multicultural Australians – to ascertain if Vegemite could be extended into the diets of ethnic communities.
The City of Sydney Chinese New Year Celebration was chosen as a communication platform, as it engages directly with Australia’s largest ethnic group, the Chinese.
Engagement was focused on demonstrating how Vegemite could be incorporated into Asian recipes.
On-site cooking demonstrations, food tastings, product giveaways, recipe leaflets, plus feedback surveys were utilised to engage with festival attendees.
All materials produced were bi-lingual in Chinese and English. Consumer response was overwhelming, with participants surprised by the innovative uses of Vegemite as a cooking ingredient for Chinese dishes.
Approximately 12,000 people visited the Vegemite stall over three days of Chinese New Year events, and 2,000 surveys were conducted. A good per cent of non-Vegemite buyers to the stall are likely to buy the product due to the positive food tasting experience.
AMI’s Brand Extension Award is given to campaigns with planning and implementation that demonstrate measured effectiveness in improving total brand equity. This new equity must deliver sustained commercial benefit, rather than delivering short-term sales results.
It is not very often that you come across an entry for an 85-year-old Australian icon in a marketing award. Being Australian born, Vegemite has been with me almost all of my life, and I was somewhat surprised to read that brand penetration was down by almost 10 per cent over seven years.
Although the identification of the problem appears to be simple, the solution adopted was imaginative and highly targeted. The solution, focused on taste within traditional cooking, provided an opportunity to obtain almost instant feedback that enabled activity to not only commence to claw back lower penetration but also provided an export opportunity.
I particularly liked the way in which the activity was used to provide feedback for future product development – a bonus!
- Excerpt from AMI Award Program