Hartley’s jelly pots: beyond promotion to brand activation

On a trip to my Sainsbury's Local to buy some food for a bbq (summer has finally arrived in London) this special pack of Hartley's jelly pots grabbed my attention. If you collect green lids you can get a free lunchbox. I think it's a nice little example of a brand going beyond promotion to "brand activation". 


1. Kick the price promo habit 

It is great to see a brand promoting itself without resorting to price promotion. Brands in the UK spend a mind boggling £14billion a year on discounting, as I posted on here, with more than half or all grocery products sold in the UK (56%) now on deal. I call price promotions "the crack cocaine" of branding. Why? Because they give you an initial high, but then you crash back. They are bad for your health. And they are a very expensive!

In contrast, the Hartley's lunchbox promotion aims to drive sales by grabbing attention on shelf and encouraging purchase (collect 10 tops to get a free lunchbox). But it does this by building equity, not destroying it.

2. Amplify your brand

What I love about the Hartley's activation is the way it amplifies the brand's communication campaign (see below). In the TV commercial we see a bunch of Toy Story-like toys trying to get hold of the wobbly, fruity jelly and plop it into a Hartley's pot and into … a yellow Hartley's lunch box. 


This activation approach builds on and reinforces the distinctive memory structure that is being built in the brand's communication, by using two brand properties: the toy characters, and the yellow lunchbox.

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3. Position on an occasion

The communication and activation clearly position Hartley's jelly pots for the lunchbox occasion. “We help consumers understand the occasions for which Hartley’s jelly pots are suitable by connecting the product to lunch boxes,” explained MD David Atkinson here. This is good for the brand, and it also solves a real everyday problem for parents: what to put in the kids' lunchbox. The comms reminds us that Hartley's jelly pots can solve this problem. And the brand then goes a step further by giving you a free lunchbox as well. 

4. "In home POS"

Another benefit of the Hartley's activation is that the branded lunchbox keeps the brand top-of-mind. Every time it is used, the brand is visible in helping solve and everyday challenge, as described above. This is an example of what I call "in-home POS" (in-home point-of-sale)

5. Amplify with digital to SMS

In a simple but smart move, the brand team have added a link to the brand's Facebook page where you can also enter a draw to win a lunch box. This is an example of using social media to help SMS = "sell more stuff"

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6. Keep it simple 

The brand team and agency have been clever in designing the special packs. The pots are actually pretty small, and it a challenge to get the promotional message on the pack without making it too busy. The team solved this problem by creating a "call to action" with the phrase "Hartley's Your Lunchbox". This maintains the branding and announces the activation. Clever. 

In conclusion, how nice to see a brand kicking the cocaine of price promotion for a while, to launch a brand activation that drives sales AND reinforces brand equity AND solves a consumer problem AND positions the brand against a usage occasion.