Cause-related marketing - Hovis and the Royal British Legion

For the cause-related marketing campaign that has done the most to benefit a charity

The double meaning of 'soldier' was used to good effect on the Hovis branding for the legion
The double meaning of 'soldier' was used to good effect on the Hovis branding for the legion


- Kimberly Clark

The Royal British Legion and Hovis are two of the UK's best-known brands. The marketing strategies of both organisations rely to some extent on nostalgia, so working together on the Here's To Our Soldiers campaign seemed a perfect way to boost the profile of both of them. The charity would benefit from the advertising and promotional machine of Hovis, while the bread brand's reputation would be enhanced by its association with a highly respected charity.

The campaign, which took place at the time of Remembrance Day last year, was run on a range of media, including social networking sites, PR and TV and press advertising. Promotional messages on Hovis products were also key: the legion's poppy image was carried on packs of Hovis's Seed Sensations bread and rolls, which contain poppy seeds.

TV advertising used two meanings of "soldier" - its literal meaning, and the one denoting slices of toast for dipping in boiled eggs - to promote the link between the food brand and the charity. PR activities included sending freshly made rolls and sandwiches to those living at the Royal British Legion's care homes as well as to the Absolute Radio presenter, Christian O'Connell.

The aim of the promotion on the packs was to raise £100,000 for the charity, with Hovis pledging 4p for every one sold. Other aims of the campaign were to increase awareness of the Hovis and Royal British Legion brands, particularly among women aged 45 and over, and to involve Hovis employees in charity work.

Sales of Hovis products rose by 10 per cent during the campaign, and the target of raising £100,000 in on-pack promotional sales was exceeded by £11,000.

A further £12,437 was raised through a sponsored cycle ride organised as part of the campaign, and staff at Premier Foods, the owners of Hovis, raised a further £3,500 through fundraising initiatives that included a dress-down day and a raffle.

Employees at Hovis also became poppy sellers for the charity for the day and volunteered to plant crosses at Westminster Abbey before Remembrance Day.

Hovis says that a number of staff signed up as long-term volunteers and poppy sellers for the Royal British Legion after the campaign. The campaign also brought TV coverage for the charity, which does not have its own TV advertising budget.

Anne Longfield, chief executive of the children's charity 4Children and a judge for the Business Charity Awards, said: "This was a perfect campaign on every level, heartwarming and bringing together two traditional, familiar brands. Linking up in this way with such a well-known food brand also reaffirmed the importance of the work of the charity."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in
RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners

Third Sector Logo

Get our bulletins. Read more articles. Join a growing community of Third Sector professionals

Register now