John West, the UK’s leading canned fish brand, today announced a significant evolution of its brand positioning strategy, strapline and visual identity.

The main objective is to drive brand re-appraisal and remind consumers of the inherent goodness within the can. John West is looking to position itself beyond canned fish as a broader health and nutrition brand, challenging consumers to re-appraise, re-trial the product and bring younger consumers into the brand.

The brand positioning strategy is focused on the theme of sustained nutrition powering body and mind, using the new tagline ‘Eat Strong Go Strong’. The centrepiece of the campaign is a new TV ad, ‘Girl on the Move’, in which a girl is supported by the food she eats as she goes about her everyday life. The ad highlights the health benefits of the natural protein within John West’s core products, No Drain Fridge Pot and the newly re-branded On the Go, which provide the ‘inner strength’ to get her through her day.

The new brand positioning and TV ad were developed by creative agency Havas London, while media planning and buying was handled by Havas Media. It marks the first campaign from Havas since the two agencies were jointly appointed in October 2020 following a competitive pitch.

The ad breaks on 9th August and is a radical departure for the John West brand. John West’s advertising has traditionally focused on the brand’s 160-year-old heritage and the origins of the product. The new brand creative is about building a stronger connection with consumers by bringing to life John West’s functional product benefits and positive impact on consumers’ everyday lives.

John West is using a mix of TV, VOD, social and gym TV advertising. The lead TV ad is booked to air from Monday 9th August, with launch spot at 19:45 during Coronation Street on ITV. Further bursts are planned throughout 2021 and into 2022.

As part of the brand re-positioning, the ‘Eat Strong, Go Strong’ tagline will be activated in-store, and across all consumer touchpoints. The brand re-positioning is supported by an enhanced product offering, focused on functional health. A recent report by Smartbrief found that almost a third of people (29%) are consuming more functional foods and beverages than in previous years. With canned fish already being a natural, high-protein food, John West is well placed to respond to the increased consumer demand for functional benefits.

Paul Stephenson, Managing Director, John West Foods Ltd said, “The brand positioning strategy and related advertising were developed after a period of extensive research and testing working closely with our agency partner Havas. John West has an incredible heritage in making healthy, natural fish accessible to all. Our mission is continue this and to inject some energy, interest, and value back into the category, and to help consumers re-engage and embrace the new with us. This is a pivotal moment as we look to the future, and put investment behind the brand. It will not only drive future growth for John West, but will benefit the category as a whole.”

Explaining the shift from its previous brand positioning, Jon Burton, International Marketing Director, John West Foods said, “’Eat Strong, Go Strong’ enables John West to own both physical and mental ‘strength’, and underlines our products’ many health benefits. The brand positioning aligns with our messaging around enjoying John West products to form a healthy and balanced lifestyle. We’re proud that our John West products are high in natural protein, an essential macro nutrient, and are high in vitamins and minerals such as Omega3, Vitamin D, and Vitamins B3 and B12. We want to remind consumers about the nutritional benefits of fish and make John West more modern and relevant to people’s lives, across different life stages.”

Vicki Maguire, Chief Creative Officer at Havas London adds: “Whatever your preconceptions of health and nutrition-focused advertising, think again. This is a big, bold, unexpected campaign full of personality, built on real human insight and avoiding any of the typical category tropes. The result is the kind of confident, eye-catching advertising befitting an iconic brand like John West, particularly at such a pivotal moment in its journey.”

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