The emotional and the rational in the planning of new Bulmers campaign

Last weekend marked not only Munster’s triumph over Leinster, but also the end of Magners League 2011 and their sponsorship of the Celtic League.  Magners, also known as Bulmers in Ireland, has been the headline sponsor since the 2006/07 season and their five year contract has now come to a ‘natural’ end with the brand choosing not to renew. It’s fitting that this season’s Magners League final has seen the cup go to Munster, the home of Bulmers at Clonmel.

The partnership with the league was a natural accompaniment to the brand’s campaign of the last number of years. They adopted an aggressive approach to achieve cut-through and brand recall in both Ireland and the UK. The primary challenge was to eliminate the perception of Bulmers as being a ‘summer’ drink. Its core emphasis on the ‘Orchard’ and concept of ‘Seasonality’ and ‘Time’ allowed the brand to cement a strong presence throughout the entire year. The cider market has grown strongly  both at home and in Europe, and Bulmers has played an intricate role in this.

This growth in the cider market has naturally led to greater competition, Kopparberg being the main competitor in Ireland. Bulmers is having to expand its product range in order to compete with such competitors, for example, the production of pear and berry flavours. Furthermore, it is having to reposition itself in the mind of the consumer, not only in relation to its competitors but also in response to the current economic climate. The brand has to build on its previous success of the ‘Time’ campaign but must also evolve with today’s market.

The recession has created an opportunity to engage consumers at another level with there being a heightened sensitivity to national issues. Bulmers have capitalised on this growing patriotic sentiment with their new campaign oriented around the concept of ‘doing our bit.’ This also plays on the brand’s focus on heritage and Irish craftsmanship. This is evident with the brand’s decision to bring David McWilliams on board as part of their new campaign.

In attempting to secure the Irish market, Bulmers are establishing ‘being Irish’ as their USP, arguing that Bulmers should be the rational and emotional choice for Irish consumers. With major brands attempting to internationalise the cider market, for example, Heineken with Strongbow, and AB InBev with Stella Cidre, there is potential for Bulmers to follow suit. Securing the Irish market will enable Bulmers to compete at an international level. Although they have left the success of the Magners League behind them, it is clear that Bulmers have their sights set beyond Ireland and Europe.

Posted by Carlene.

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