Anniversary campaign builds brand awareness and subscriptions for The Grocer

We helped The Grocer celebrate its 150th anniversary with a bold advertising and dynamic subscriptions campaign that repositioned the brand and drove subscriptions to both the magazine and its online platform.


The client

William Reed Business Media is a leading UK food and drink B2B media company with a portfolio that includes magazines, events, exhibitions, conferences, digital and industry data and insight.

Their requirement

Established in 1862 as a trade magazine, The Grocer is William Reed Business Media’s flagship brand. But by its 150th birthday, there were still misperceptions from some in the industry that The Grocer remained just a magazine. In fact, the brand now delivers news and opinion, jobs, awards, conferences and a growing digital platform. The 150th anniversary presented a unique marketing opportunity to both leverage its heritage and make the industry aware of just how diverse the brand’s offering is in its field of expertise – and ultimately to drive engagement.

What we delivered

We helped The Grocer define its overarching proposition, articulated in the positioning line “Everything FMCG”. We then created a brand framework that allowed each offering within The Grocer portfolio to be promoted on its own merit, whilst at the same time leveraging and reinforcing the equity of the original brand. We built in scalability to ensure that new members of the ‘family’ can be added as the brand continues to evolve. Our bold new creative theme – using a suite of FMCG icons – captured the essence of the positioning and was brought to life through a series of print and online ads plus direct mail.

In addition, we re-launched our long-running subscription campaign to bring it in line with the new theme. Building on the success of the previous year’s subscription campaign, we combined rich data analysis to deliver a deeper level of segmentation, development of personas, and dynamic marketing technology to create one-on-one communications. We targeted recipients with content specifically relevant to them – using false magazine covers, email and personalised websites.

The impact

The new creative theme was chosen unanimously by The Grocer’s publishing, editorial and marketing teams for capturing the essence of the brand so well. The positioning line has buy-in from across the business, and the framework has been rolled out as the basis from which to create new ads for each member of the family.

Our dynamic subscription campaign is an evolution of a long-running campaign, for which it has been a finalist in no less than four awards. This reflects the campaign’s impact on response rates – it has consistently uplifted them by 700%. In its first year alone, the campaign achieved a conversion rate 14 times higher than previous efforts.

The campaign was unique for our sector and provided a good mix of new and traditional methods to make our brand stand out.  Crucially it worked with a low CPS and high ROI.
Paul Joyce, Marketing Director, The Grocer

Finalist
Best Content Marketing Solution of the Year

Finalist
Best Direct Mail Campaign