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Iglo, the Birds Eye sister brand in Europe, is a well-known and well accepted brand with a long history. However due to other Unilever business priorities, Birds Eye and Iglo lost top of mind awareness, brand strength and sales volume. Market shares in the German frozen food business decreased in the last Unilever decade from 15 percent to 8 percent. Therefore it was decided at the end of 2006 to sell the Birds Eye Iglo Group to the private equity company called Permira.

At the beginning of the brand turn around program, market research was carried out with the objective of achieving better brand positioning for Birds Eye and Iglo. In Limbique Emotional Explorer the true reasons for brand choice were identified in the British and German market. Birds Eye’s and Iglo’s brand strength was increased via addressing the real market drivers in different frozen food segments. Communication effectiveness was ensured in tough Advertising $ales Effect Tests. Precise optimisation advice was used effectively to increase significantly the sales impact caused by commercials.

Iglo’s core spinach business in the frozen vegetable market succeeded in achieving two digit growth rates during the advertising period for the first time after more than ten years. This advertising success had been predicted reliably with only a deviation of 0.2 percent.

Innovations in established core business segments such as Omega 3 fish fingers as well as new offers played a key role to strengthen the Birds Eye and Iglo brand even further. A significant example is the seafood range Iglo del Mar which was launched in 2008. Market research insights helped to triple its success via superior positioning and well-targeted optimisation of advertising. The new seafood range achieved a market share of more than 6 per cent after ten months. Again the predicted market share deviated only by 0.1 percent from real market figures

In another smart strategic initiative Birds Eye and Iglo launched the new umbrella sub brand FieldFresh, thus communicating the core category driver and a key competitive advantage on pack. The name defines the program: The new FieldFresh vegetables are actually “fresher than fresh”. Birds Eye and Iglo guarantee to freeze their vegetables within hours of picking. That is important because vegetables rapidly lose their nutritional value from the moment they are picked. Consumers of FieldFresh can be confident that their vegetables are packed with goodness and bursting with flavour. – In 2012 this great initiative was extended with CatchFresh and SeaFresh to seafood and fish, guaranteeing the freshest taste and highest quality.

The Birds Eye and Iglo brand turn arounds are great successes: New insights, initiatives and communication paved the way for further growth. Just to quote some published facts and figures:

  • In Germany Iglo gained market leadership in the frozen fish segment with a share of more than 20 percent. – The same is true in the frozen vegetable market with a share of more than 33 percent.
  • In the UK nowadays a remarkable one in every five pounds spent on frozen food is spent on a Birds Eye product. Birds Eye won the award as most revitalized brand in 2008 and in a survey conducted in 2010 by the Reputation Institute of the top 200 UK companies, consumers voted Birds Eye the number one food company.
  • And even better: The overall value of the Birds Eye Iglo Group has doubled since November 2006 (FAZ 14.08.2011).

The case studies prove that brands can be developed systematically to greater successes – using innovative and reliable methods.

Methods used: Limbique Emotional Explorer in Germany and UK, Advertising $ales Effect Tests.