herald

Friday 14 December 2018

MARKETING

How crisps boss beat rest of pack

Marketers should forget about giving consumers what they want and instead give them what they value -- otherwise, a business will fail in no time.

So says Martin Glenn (pictured), the man at the centre of making Walkers crisps one of Britain's leading grocery brands.

He was speaking at an An Post marketers' breakfast in Fallon & Byrne restaurant in Dublin.

He said the big turning point for Walkers was making the crisps fresher than any other brand. Before the 1990s, British consumers were used to eating stale crisps. The average bag of crisps had a 14-day life, after which the cooking oils spoiled the snack's quality. By switching to foil packs, Walkers stayed fresher longer.

The more outlandish the flavour, the greater the short-term hit. But unusual flavours are only fads, as 85pc of crisps sold are cheese 'n' onion, salt 'n' vinegar and ready salted. The idea to hire footballer Gary Lineker to front Walkers ads saw the Pepsi-owned company increase production to 10 million crisp packs a day. Health scares and pressure from government agencies led to changes in the ingredients used in snacks.

Mr Glenn said marketing is a craft, not a profession, and the best advice he gives to anyone in the business is kiss -- keep it simple stupid. Among the guests at the breakfast were Bobby Kerr, Insomnia; Loretta Dignam, Jacob Fruitfield; Joe Collum, Glanbia; Jayne O'Keeffe, Arnotts; Daragh O'Reilly, Irish Ferries and Ian Young, Irish International.

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