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Case Study: How to Craft A Cheese

When Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses asked us to come up with an idea to increase customer spend during the summer months last year our brief was simple. Communicate the core brand message, integrate digital and PR to build online interest, and drive sales of hero product, Blacksticks Blue.
40million ‘opportunities to see’ the brand were generated, Facebook and Twitter activity increased by 91% and 87% respectively, whilst 288 references to the company appeared in print and online press. So our Craft A Cheese campaign beat all expectations- but what did we do, and why did it work so well?
The concept
A quirky brand, the Butlers ethos is ‘taste the unexpected’. As such our campaign needed to have elements of unpredictability and spontaneity. With this in mind, we decided to offer the public an opportunity to put forward their own ideas on the perfect cheese- from the weirdest to the most overwhelmingly obvious- with a call to action on the packets themselves.
Taking it to the public
To launch Craft A Cheese, the Butlers Handmade With Love recipe book, containing entries from previous competitions, was distributed in Lancashire Life and the Preston Reporter. Meanwhile, Craft A Cheese promotions appeared on packs of Blacksticks Blue, and we also launched an email marketing campaign via the company newsletter and a blog post, sending both to its customer database.
We built a micro-site and Facebook app to act as central hubs, complete with fruit machine-style tool to randomise combinations of ingredients for a new cheese. These ideas could then be entered into a competition, with the lucky winner receiving £1,000 in cash, a free trip to Cardiff for the British Cheese Festival, and their own creation realised as a limited edition Butlers product. Facebook and Twitter also hosted a ‘cheese of the day’, generating high levels of engagement.
The press
We launched a national survey inspired by the ongoing trend for home grown food, a la The Good Life. The results were sent out to the media, and hit nearly 300 publications in print and online- with a Butlers quote included in most articles.
Further to this, we came up with a celebrity related stunt to provide some photo opportunities. Bradley Wiggins, for example, agreed to have his face appear on truckles of Blacksticks Blue, giving us fantastic visual content for social media, whilst securing significant local press coverage in the process, thanks to both the sportsman and company’s Lancashire connections.
The taste test
Running from June to October, Craft A Cheese served its purpose and then some. By boosting the company’s profile and increasing understanding of the corporate message we helped bolster its long term market position, going beyond the initial seasonal requirement.
After the campaign Butlers ran a stall at the British Cheese Festival in Cardiff. The winner of the competition was present as part of her complimentary weekend in the city, collected the prize money, and sampled the results of her cheesy idea before the watchful eyes of attendees. As a final stage, this ceremony was filmed, and grabbed the attention of 35,000+ YouTube viewers, adding to the overall success, and exemplifying the power of a truly integrated public relations effort.

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