Brand’s Essence of Chicken is a natural food supplement that increases your metabolic rate and relieves fatigue. Traditionally Brand’s has been a health tonic given to Chinese children from their mothers to help relieve colds and flu. It is still the most common use of the product today although Brand’s has successfully positioned itself as a daily wellness supplement over time.
The ‘Brand’s Artificial Leg Programme’ campaign lasted 3 months starting on November 2002 through January 2003 to coincide with the New Year. It was the second year of a successful programme that ironically started as a way to dispose of thousands of Brand’s Essence of Chicken bottle caps that were used in making a giant dragon during a Chinese New Year promotion in 2000.
Those caps were donated to the Thailand Artificial Leg Foundation, started by HRH Princess Kalayaniwattana, sister of the King, to help produce limbs. Established in 1993, this foundation provides artificial limbs for low cost or free to thousands of Thais who cannot afford the luxury. A good share of the cost of the limbs is the raw materials, which is mostly made of aluminum: the same material in a Brand’s bottle cap.
After the donation of the caps from the Chinese New Year promotion, Cerebos, maker of Brand’s, built a strong relationship with the Foundation and wanted to continue to support it. A simple annual cash donation would have been adequate, but wouldn’t a more impactful campaign be created if the consumer also got involved in the effort?
A campaign was therefore created to support the Artificial Leg Foundation, launched to coincide with the New Year, under the theme of ‘Giving Endlessly’. The concept of the campaign involved a full circle of ‘giving’. Focusing on the Brand’s holiday gift baskets, the consumer would give the gift of good health, and in turn, Cerebos would donate 10 baht to the Foundation on their behalf. The receiver could also “give endlessly by donating the bottle caps from the gift basket to the Foundation collection drive.”
Consumers donated their used Brand’s aluminum caps at various retailer outlet drop boxes throughout the country. These caps were then collected and melted down at Cerebos’ expense, and the raw aluminum was turned over to the Foundation to produce the limb parts. Cerebos also helped distribute leaflets encouraging consumers to donate money directly to the Foundation.
To communicate the programme a number of communication channels were utilized, including a TVC, TV scoops, live interviews, in-store retail displays, small shop banners and posters.
The result was one of the most successful campaigns in the history of the company. Over 3 million caps were donated to the creation of more than 60,000 artificial limbs. There was in fact so much aluminum that the Foundation produced aluminum walking sticks with the excess. Consumers even saved the caps from the first year in anticipation of the campaign’s continuation. Cerebos receives donated caps from consumers to this very day.
During the 5 months, sales of Brand’s Essence of Chicken doubled and gift basket sales increased 20 percent. Cerebos were allowed mass displays in all the key account outlets free of charge. And over 10,000 banners were placed outside of pharmacies and small shops for free.
Public relations also played a big part in the campaign’s success. For starters, it was covered extensively on all 5 television networks during talk shows and news programmes at no cost. Celebrities lined up to endorse the programme: HRH Princess Kalayaniwattana and singer sensation Thongchai McIntyre volunteered to be in the TVC for free. The Ministry of Health also endorsed and supported the program, lending its logo to the campaign materials.
What started as a way to dispose caps turned into a massive charity foundation drive that doubled sales during the promotion period and created tremendous goodwill and free publicity for Cerebos.
Marketing Challenge And Objective
Brand’s is the dominant player in Thailand for 26 years, holding over 60 percent market share in a category equal in volume size to the instant coffee category. Despite its dominance, Brand’s has seen the Essence of Chicken share shrink slightly over time as a result of new product variants and cheaper copycat products.
Additional market challenges occur especially during the New Year holiday season as a number of product categories offer gift baskets. Many are trying to gain share by offering a number of price and tactical promotions. Adding value without sacrificing price during this key sales period is vital to the success of the campaign.
The ‘Artificial Leg Programme’ achieved these objectives in a very relevant way because it enhanced its brand loyalty by offering a little sentimental feeling in exchange for a purchase.
In other words, consumers felt good about buying Brand’s because of its efforts through the programme.
Brand’s Essence of Chicken is a mass brand that targets middle class Thais, male and female, between the ages of 25 and 40 years old. The campaign was national in scope.
Since it was the second year of the campaign, it was important to keep the messages, concepts and images fresh and moving. To get consumers to participate in the programme required strong emotional attachment to the cause; a cute and smiling school boy with a prosthetic limb was chosen to become the campaign spokesman. He not only starred in the TVC and was featured on the posters; he was also an actual beneficiary of the artificial leg programme from last year.
Thus, a positive, lighter approach was used in the creative, with a clear emotional end-benefit, instead of hardship, sadness or difficulty. The key message of the campaign was “Giving Endlessly…the smile you see is because of you.”
Various media and non-medial channels were used to gain publicity for the campaign. The most popular was a TVC (250 spots during a 6-week period), with over 10 TV tie-in programmes. An on-pack donation form was created, including hanger POS for every gift basket. Cerebos distributed over 100,000 donation leaflets with 700 Brand’s cap donation boxes nationwide. The Bangkok Metropolitan Authority supported the campaign by free placement of 500 banners in the city.
HRH Princess Kalayaniwattana also helped gain free publicity through the Royal Household news programme that is broadcast on every major TV channel during prime time.
Campaign Results And Measurement
(1) Sales Results
According to Cerebos company sales figures, sales of Brand’s Essence of Chicken increased a whopping 100 percent during the promotion period. Sales of gift baskets increased 20 percent.
(2) Media Results
The ‘Brands Artificial Leg Programme’ news through scoops and interviews was carried on all major networks at no charge. Cerebos also received free key account retail space for the programme. AC Nielsen Thailand reported 97% of consumers liked the TVC. The campaign also received endorsements from HRH Princess Kalayaniwattana, the Ministry of Health, and singer legend Thongchai McIntyre.
(3) Philanthropic Results
Cerebos donated 3 million aluminium caps to the foundation, including a matching sales grant of 1 million baht generated from gift basket sales.