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ER uses food promos to build brand profile

Six months into her role as Entertainment Right's head of consumer products, Claire Shaw is embarking on a mission to boost the presence of the company's classic properties at retail in the U.K. and the States through healthy food promotions.
October 1, 2005

Six months into her role as Entertainment Right’s head of consumer products, Claire Shaw is embarking on a mission to boost the presence of the company’s classic properties at retail in the U.K. and the States through healthy food promotions.

To that end, she has started off by licensing ER’s 39-year-old Trumptonshire brand (at the heart of which is a stop-motion BBC series about goings-on in a typical English community) to PepsiCo until 2007. The food conglom will use the character Windy Miller to push healthy Quaker oats to adults who want to lower their cholesterol levels through a series of TV ads, point-of-sale materials and direct marketing. Although the promotion targets the 35-plus crowd, Shaw says this is just the beginning of a major push that will eventually encompass all ages.

In fact, she feels that the promotional potential of kids brands such as Basil Brush and The Little Red Tractor has been undertapped in the past, and she’s looking to recruit an experienced marketing executive to work on developing new promotions around these franchises. Getting onto food retail shelves is a definite priority, and Shaw sees movie promotions (which are generally large-scale, but tend not to last much longer than a month) as her main grocery competitors. To stand apart, she’ll be looking for partners who prefer to have a longer-lasting presence on shelves. And food players interested in using ER’s characters to promote their products should be healthy and safe, given the heightened global concern about childhood obesity. ‘I’ll be looking at the fat content for food,’ she warns.

Now that pay-TV channel HBO Family is broadcasting Postman Pat on U.S. airwaves, Shaw is negotiating deals with a State-side promotions agency to plan and implement a U.S. marketing campaign that should be in place by the end of this year.

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