What I did: Here I got to look after a brand I loved pure and simple. I fell in love with all brands on which I had worked; here it had been for years from afar. I genuinely remember hating having to wrap cheese in film as a kid, mostly I didn’t and mostly it ended badly for the cheese and our appetites. Cathedral City was delicious cheddar with a survival instinct in the form of a lovely big re-sealable wrapper. It was a great British brand, not just majestically ecclesiastical, but also proud and confident. Everything a brand should be. I got to work on it.
BIG TAKE OUTS THAT LEAD TO CURRENT ME:
Don’t fear the price promotion. In certain purist marketing circles, price promotions are viewed as a cop out. Cathedral City is unashamedly a heavily traded brand. Is it our jobs as marketers to create such strong brands that a consumer is willing to pay full price for it at all times? What if that is not how the market behaves, or how the consumer enjoys shopping? What if the price promotion enables the consumer to make sense of the wider pricing structure? Isn’t it more purist to understand and act on that? Cathedral City is heavily traded and so are it’s competitors – competitors who, added together are about half the size of it. It’s not all about the money, money, money.
How lovely it is when you can just be honest. Another of the things you hear in purist circles is that you shouldn’t have to describe your brand as honest because no brand is (or should be) devious. There are often things that are an essential part of mass produced consumer goods that you are less proud of like additives, excessive processing etc. You never lie about them but they can be elephants in rooms. Cheddar cheese really is a high fat, high salt product but it is ridiculously simple and the reality of that is just widely embraced. People know you shouldn’t eat a 400g block as a prelude to a roast dinner. It is loved, just as it is, just like Bridget Jones.
How melted cheese is one of life’s money shots. There is an urban legend that goes around Dairy Crest, Cathedral City’s owner, about a former Marketing Director who told the ad agency to just make him “an effing cheese on toast ad”. Allegedly this was after lots of rounds of clever ideas. The result was a campaign called “you see it, you want it”, you may well remember it. Maybe it was the original food porn. Either way it is a money shot (you see it) and a truism (you want it) in one. The universe doesn’t align like that all the time.
My one little moment of pride:
I wrote the entry that lead to a place in a shortlist for Brand of the Year 2010. We were among 4 behemoths of industry, John Lewis among them at the pinnacle of their Christmas ad reign. We didn’t win, but they didn’t either. We were there.