Felix case study

Felix case study
Building a brand in newspapers from the 1980’s to the
present day
Felix’s ninth life…
Background and objectives
In the 1980’s Felix was a
minor player in UK cat
food market.
Whiskas had 50% market
share versus Felix at 6%.
By 1989 the brand was in
crisis and facing de-listing.
Quaker (owners of Felix)
decided to re-launch the
product with three new
flavours, a new can and
support of Felix’s first ever
advertising campaign.
Source: summarised from case history written by Les Binet and Richard Butterworth of BMP DDB
Felix’s budget for year one
was £250k compared to
Whiskas £10m a year
Whiskas was spending the
equivalent of Felix’s
annual budget every eight
The aim was to increase
market share to 10% in
two years and stop delisting.
The advertising needed to
work very hard to achieve
the brand’s growth targets
in face of such intense
The birth of Felix
• The persistent advertising image was of the “perfect”, spoiled,
pedigree cat.
• Research uncovered the gap between the perfect Whiskas cat and
how people really felt about their pets:
– “He's an absolute nutter, he terrorises other cats.”
– “They're mischievous, aren't they? Whatever you're doing they'll come
and mither you.”
• ... And so, Felix the cat was born.
Why national newspapers?
Media and creative rationale
• Quaker’s creative agency BMP
DDB decided that newspapers
were the most efficient medium:
– TV saturated with cat food ads
and nobody was using
newspapers – Felix would
therefore achieve stand out.
– Stand out would be enhanced
by the cartoon style and look
very different to the usual cat
food glossy photos.
– The low cost of advertising
versus TV allowed for yearround coverage
Why national newspapers?
Media and creative rationale
• Small, mono spaces enabled
flexible positioning so the ads
could pop up in unusual places
reflecting the brand’s
• Low production costs made it
possible to run many
executions keeping the
campaign fresh and giving it big
brand feel.
• Newspapers allowed Felix ‘hitch
a ride’ on topical issues of the
Instant and rapid sales increase
As soon as first newspaper ads
appeared, sales began to rise
and keep rising:
– 60% sales increase over the first
two years, making Felix the fourth
fastest growing grocery brand in
any category.
– the target of 10% share was met
eight months ahead of schedule.
– econometric analysis showed that
advertising reduced price sensitivity
so Quaker were able to increase
price of product.
– de-listing threat removed and Felix
achieved increased shelf space.
Newspapers the most important factor
Econometric analysis
Product and packaging changes
played a role in Felix’s success
but analysis showed the greater
impact of newspaper advertising:
– The timing of the sales growth
matched the timing of ads to the
month, whereas the new can and
flavours launched months earlier
– Econometrics showed newspaper
advertising was the biggest factor
in driving sales and distribution
…and Felix climbed all the way to the top!
Longer term results
• Higher sales revenues provided
extra advertising budget to
extend the campaign to more
newspapers, TV and posters.
• Sales quadrupled and Felix
displaced Whiskas as number
one brand.
Consistent presence in newspapers over the
…and Felix is still making headlines in 2013
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