Branston Baked Beans
Branston are giving students loans in the form of 24 packs of their Baked Beans to start their university terms off.
This cleverly targeted activity aimed fairly and squarely at students is brilliant and has generated a great deal of PR because it is of genuine relevance, use and interest to students. What's more it's also disarmingly surprising and therefore fits in with Russell Davies' theory of being:
From Beyond Baked Beans:
"According to a report in yesterday's Times food manufacturer Branston is introducing a baked beans loan scheme. Students will receive free cans and pay for them once they start work.
Cases of 24 tins will be delivered by Branston - a relatively new entrant to the bean market - to participating students, every term for the next three years. They will defer the interest-free payment of £105.84, at today’s prices, until the students start work.
Apparently sales of baked beans in student households are down 20% in the last five years with students developing more sophisticated tastes - such as the Thai Green Curry posted today. That's also roughly the period this site has been in existence so who knows, maybe we started the trend!
Anyway if you want to take advantage of the offer - and why not - you should email firstname.lastname@example.org. Apparently you have to settle the loan by the end of your first year of paid employment though whether Branston is going to employ a vast staff of debt collectors to enforce that seems highly unlikely."
Nick has made the following observations about why this idea is so good:
1. The idea is well targeted, and shows a really well defined business and consumer challenge. A clear ‘X’ marks the spot.
2. It is disruptive and newsworthy. Yesterday I heard a radio discussion about this launch sandwiched between an article on student debt and the political party conferences. It made ‘headline’ news at virtually no cost. It has been covered on many news programmes and newspapers. I assume that they are communicating on campus and in student-targeted publications too. It got covered not because of the amount of A&P spend, but because it was inventive, surprising, relevant and entertaining.
3. The context and the manner of delivering the message communicates Branston as a big brand, and more importantly (for this brand) a big baked beans brand
4.It is highly relevant to the target audience, and likely to generate discussion amongst them.
5. Every student that takes up the ‘loan’ will try the brand enough times to become a loyalist, and as students usually live with other students are likely to talk about the brand to their friends.
6.Once students have registered for the ‘loan’ Branston will have a database and the right to further communication, which they would not have had if they just gave away the beans.
7. The more obvious approach of just giving away the beans would still have the potential to convert Heinz users, but would not have delivered the talk value (word of mouth or news coverage) and ongoing relationship.
On top of this activity, taste tests have shown that 76% prefered Branstons to Heinz. Heinz are clearly rattled hence their decision to change the recipe for their Beans.
We love the clever targeting and timing and the sheer simplicity of the idea. It's an idea fits with John Grant's Marketing Innovation Manifesto and Alex Wipperfurth's Brand Hijack. What we need are strong interesting ideas that are useful and executed in a surprising way.
Thank you Nick for this.