Big agency thinking. Without the big agency nonsense
New brand positioning, TV, press & digital for luxury travel brand, APT

How we created and launched the repositioning of luxury travel brand, APT, in the UK. With a new brand campaign rolling out over the Autumn…

By MINTdev2015
Reinvigorating a
£175m retail category.

A recent (rather confidential) assignment set us a big challenge
How to reinvigorate a £175m convenience food category in one of the UK’s major grocery stores.

Having developed their view of the category trends and opportunities, and audience typologies, our client tasked MINT to bring it to life for their retailer customer.

It was a lovely problem for us to crack:

1. We knew that this particular food category, whilst having high household penetration, has low engagement for the majority of consumers.

2. With multiple sub-categories it’s a tricky part of the store for the consumer to shop. And with the continuing evolution of shopping missions we knew things would become even more challenging.

3. Finally, the quality brand values associated with retailer simply weren’t crossing over into its instore communications for this category.

Having observed shopping behaviour across numerous stores and retailers, we found the solution.

Simplify the shopping experience, add food values at the fixture and create more inspiration and excitement for the shopper.

So: MINT created a series of creative approaches that re-invented the category’s positioning within the retailer. From the big strategic idea – down to its execution at store level. Respecting the look and feel synonymous with the retailer’s communication style, but contemporising it. And demonstrating how to re-engage consumers through benefit led, inspirational imagery and messaging, to encourage reappraisal (and footfall) in the aisle.

We also took it one step further and showed how this might apply on possible new fixturing in the store over the coming years to accommodate consumers’ changing shopping behaviour.

All in all a great project to get our teeth into. Combining our unique insight and research capabilities with solid strategic thinking and stand out creative.

But you’ll just have to take our word for that for now…

By MINTdev2015
MINT launches Bisto and Help for Heroes promotion

MINT has been appointed by Kerry Foods to develop and implement a partnership with Help for Heroes as part of a year long marketing and advertising campaign. 

The plan for leading frozen ready meal brand Bisto – includes its first on-pack promotion. With a £500,000 prize fund, the promotion will offer consumers the opportunity to support the UK’s best known charity for wounded, injured and sick Veterans and Serving personnel, Help for Heroes, whilst having a chance to win cash prizes via an innovative “Win £5 for you & £5 for our Heroes” mechanic.

Featuring on 5 million Bisto frozen ready meals, each pack contains a unique code for consumers to enter via a dedicated new website to be in with a chance to win a £5 cash prize. Kerry Foods will then donate a further £5 to the Help for Heroes charity, with a potential contribution of £250,000 to this worthy cause. The promotion has been devised to appeal to Bisto’s core customer base, as well as attracting a wider demographic.

MINT negotiated the partnership, developed the on pack promotion and will implement a range of digital, advertising and media initiatives over the coming 12 months. The initial activity runs for 12 weeks across 19 SKUs, the promotion rolled out nationwide in major multiples from Monday 2nd May.

Kerry Foods Senior Brand Manager, Charlotte Bourne, comments: “As a trusted, well known charity, Help for Heroes was the perfect choice and a great fit for Bisto, the number one frozen ready meal brand. We know many Bisto FRM consumers are already engaged with the charity and will want to show their support for the partnership. We’ve really enjoyed working with MINT – they stood out during the pitch process through their consumer insight and multi-discipline approach.”

David Hicks, Co-founder and CEO adds: “The FRM marketplace is massively crowded. We felt that as brand leader Bisto had the opportunity to redefine the promotional and marketing norms of the category and support a wonderfully deserving cause.”

As part of the programme, MINT has also developed Bisto frozen ready meals’ first ever brand web site – which will evolve further over the coming months.

Bisto Dinners web site

Help for Heroes supports Servicemen, women and Veterans of the British Armed Forces who have suffered life changing injuries and illness in the line of duty, and their families. This includes physical and psychological support, as well as encouragement to take on new activities, courses and careers to enable them to rebuild their lives.

So now you can be a hero – by winning £10.


By David
Out with the new, in with the old.
It’s time to put ideas first…

If you’re searching for the next big thing in tech innovation, and ‘digital disruption’ in 2016, consider this. The success of some of the world’s most innovative technology companies is down to brilliant and brave new ideas – not their bits or bytes – resulting in a whole new approach…

The world’s largest taxi company owns no taxis: Uber

Largest accommodation provider owns no property: Airbnb

Largest phone companies own no telco infrastructure: Skype. WeChat

World’s most valuable retailer has no inventory: Alibaba

Most popular media owner creates no content: Facebook

Fastest growing banks have no actual money: SocietyOne

World’s largest movie house owns no cinemas: Netflix

Largest software vendors don’t write the apps: Apple & Google

What can we learn from all of these?

A start-up mindset. Blank-sheet planning with entrepreneurial risk taking.

Avoidance of corporate inertia. Outlawing the phrase “that’s how it’s always been done…”

Serious insight: Understanding what audiences truly want, or need (not simply relying on what you can offer)

Recognising true breadth of competition: Think beyond the obvious competitor set e.g. in the real world, users don’t compare their banking apps with other banking apps; they compare them with Uber or Spotify’s usability, simplicity and service delivery.

Because nothing beats a brilliant idea:

Our inboxes are filled every week with the latest trend alerts in technology and digital, mobile, social or other ‘Consumer Relationship Activation Platforms’ (abbreviate at will…) that promises to revolutionise marketing and transform the way audiences behave, and ultimately spend. And with their plummeting costs (think 3D printing, cloud storage, increased processing power etc) it’s easy to be sucked in…

Which creates a worrying scenario, where brands feel they need to search out the very latest in tech wizardry as the answer to their latest marketing challenges. And a flurry of agencies will start up to offer niche and inaccessible expertise in the very latest thing. (Emperor’s New Clothes anyone?)

After all, the latest developments in tech and digital media are still only the carriers of a brilliant, original idea. 

It’s what the consumer sees, experiences, and benefits from that matters – and that’s where the timeless need for creativity comes in. The tech helps make it happen. But the idea must come first. This principle always has been, and always will be, the most effective way to engage with audiences.

By MINTdev2015
Kerry Foods
new client, new launch…

OK guys… we’ve been working on this for a while, but finally the news is out.

We’ve been appointed by Kerry Foods (one of our lovely new clients) to develop the launch marketing for their new Men’s Health Kitchen range of frozen ready meals.

Created to appeal to fitness-orientated, nutritionally aware men, the brand aims to tap into consumer demand for balanced, high protein meals in the developing branded FRM market. With an RRSP of £3 for a 425g meal, the premium range is positioned as a healthy alternative for time poor occasions.

Men’s Health is trusted by over 3 million consumers across its magazine, online channels and Survival of the Fittest events.

The nine enticing recipes include King Prawns & Pomegranate with Persian Rice, and Pulled Chilli Beef with Okra and Wild Rice. The campaign and brand will be rolling out nationally – beginning with Asda in May.

More news shortly when the media and launch campaign breaks…

Mint. Kerry Foods. The Grocer

By MINTdev2015
Attention span of a goldfish?
You wish.

For an average Goldfish
it’s 9 seconds.

For the average person
it’s just 8 seconds.

It raises a heap of issues around gaining and maintaining attention amongst consumers – particularly when interacting online. And if attention is defined as the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted. It’s clear that distraction usually wins.1

And if you’ve ever found yourself wondering why you got distracted from what you started out doing, it’s actually not something that’s easy to control. Dr. Michael Lipson PhD, a clinical psychologist in the US, has mapped it out in a new article in the Harvard Business Review (read it here).
325(How long do you watch one of these before you wander off?)

There are four phases of attention and distraction that happen every time you try to focus:

Lipson believes:

  1. First, you choose a focus. It might be anything, from any sphere of life. eg what’s for dinner tonight?
  2. Sooner or later your attention wanders. This isn’t what you plan to do. It just happens. (If it were a plan, it would be another focus, not a wandering.)
  3. Sooner or later you wake up to the fact that your mind has wandered. You notice the distraction. You realise how far you are from the thing you first wanted to focus on. Again, you can’t exactly plan or choose this.
  4. Having woken up, you may choose to return to the original theme – like what’s on the menu. Then again, you may choose to give up and do something else. It’s up to you; it’s a choice. If you do return to the original theme at Step 4, the whole thing tends to begin again. Sooner or later your mind wanders…
So… what was I saying? Oh yes –  if you’re in the digital world, you need to be fast:

Ideally 3 seconds or less. To keep within the attention span and have a chance to communicate key messages within  the 8 second window.  In the case of the web keep the “Time to Interact” as short as possible (ie the time it takes the primary page content to render (or fully appear) and become interactive (e.g.with call-to-action buttons functioning).
Forrester research found over 50% of visitors abandon ‘ websites that fail to load within 3 seconds.
(And don’t forget that Google uses page speed in their ranking algorithm.)
325(These spin forever)

Understand the consumer’s priorities. What is the key action you want users to take? How long does it take to perform it?
If more than a few minutes, it’s time to streamline.
If your site (or app) is clumsy or slow, 29% of smartphone users will immediately switch to another if it doesn’t satisfy their needs (ie they can’t find information or it’s taking too long).
Around 70% will switch if takes too many steps to purchase or get desired information.2
And of those who switch, 70% do so because of lagging load times, during which shoppers become distracted. In fact about 14% drift away to shop other sites and almost a quarter will stop shopping or walk away from their computer altogether. So the adage of “time is money” has never been truer…

Oh and lastly.
Put the big stuff firstThe most important content or calls-to-action for the primary activities on your site or app should be in a prominent spot on the page, with secondary content or actions below the fold or hidden behind menus.

Why? Because on average, visitors only read 20% of your web page 3 . Chartbeat looked at deep user behaviour across 2 billion visits across the web over the course of a month and found that most people who click don’t read. In fact, a stunning 55% spent fewer than 15 seconds actively on a page. They tend to scan for what they want, as often they’re looking for a specific piece of information and they don’t want to read the whole page to find it.
So keep sentences short & focussed.
Be creative.
And er…



By David
Putting a fresh new spin on some old classics…

Awesomely different re-designs of movie title sequences – fresh from the National Film & Television School – where Chris, our creative director, is a visiting design & typography lecturer for Digital FX students:

“These are conceptual shorts – the purpose was to come up with new ideas and new interpretations, rather than being an exercise in technical CGI wizardry. What’s great is that each student had totally different interpretations to the brief. Whether expressed via vector animation, Maya compositing, parallax techniques, or a striking new soundtrack. So here are just a few for starters – from Kelvin, Guillem, Suhyeon and Ollie. See if you can guess the movie (before the name appears….) Hope you like ’em…”

And any thoughts / comments? Give me a shout
Cheers, Chris

By David
Millennials: brand authenticity is great, right?

Globally, 30% of Millennials are cynical about the way that brands market to them (and it’s above 40% in the UK and US). So some brands are now responding by incorporating authenticity, provenance and an eco or social conscience into their brand stories to differentiate themselves and appeal to this target market.

Because when it comes to being an ‘authentic’ brand, Millennials report that they value authenticity as more important than content. For example, 43% rank authenticity over content when consuming news. They first have to trust a company or news site before they even bother reading the content that they produce. And whether its checking blogs, reading reviews or receiving personal recommendations, Millennials connect best with trusted people rather than logos.


The world of craft beer is currently in massive growth. And the values on which it thrives tick so many of the Millennial consumer’s boxes.

Old school beers have been usurped by new school beards – a revolution in cool new lifestyle brands, micro brewers, traditional brewing methods and eco-friendly production. The multitude of new brands that have sprung up have paid very close attention to their overall branding, naming and design. (Quite unusual compared to other sectors – where a flood of new, ‘me too’ products normally results in inferior brands and a commoditisation of the marketplace).

A quick look at many of the (literally 100’s) of beer festivals reveals some very well considered branding – all designed to communicate craftsmanship, individuality and non-corporate credentials. And for the most part, backed up with quirky provenance stories and ‘entertaining’ tasting notes…

POST craft beers

The very big, authentic little company 

In the case of Brewdog, it was started by two men (and a dog) in 2007, and is now a crowdfunded multi £million company employing 350+ people, and producing 90,000HL of beer (or a projected £50million sales). It’s positioning as a craft beer company is very ably portrayed via its offbeat branding and design – including letterpressed labels, and some cool and quirky beer names…

POST Brewdog

Even at this scale, and with its (admittedly eco-friendly) giant stainless steel brewing facility, it still claims to be a craft beer. So it appears size isn’t everything when classifying authenticity.

Authenticity direct to their door

Millennials also love ‘instant’ delivery. Whether it’s Amazon Prime or any other online brand, Millennials are driving up customer expectations of customer service, and acceptable delivery waiting times. Capitalising on this are companies like the craft beer subscription service Brew Box, curated wines to your door Wineist, and the super fast beer delivery service Minibar (so far an NY only app).

And not only do these address issues of convenience, they are plugged right into direct customer service and feedback via social media. 62% of Millennials say that if a brand engages with them on social networks, they are more likely to become a loyal customer. They expect brands to not only be on social networks, but to engage them directly…POST beer delivery

An authentic experience vs. the truth

As well as the right kind of brand design and packaging, brands are also starting to build ‘experience’ into their products. For example, Miller Coors in the US has a beer aimed at Millennials named Miller Fortune. It aims to encapsulate the spirit and adventure of the late-night occasion and has ‘gamified’ its bottle cap into a ‘heads or tails’ counter. The idea has also been extended into online content such as a live street art mural…

POST miller

POST miller wall

All well and good, but can coolness and authenticity be ‘bought in’? According to page 7 of the marketing textbook: ‘hire some street artists and a dj’ – and hey presto – you have a cool, credible brand. Really?

If the definition of craft and authenticity means that something doesn’t actually have to be made in a rickety wooden shed, then there’s nothing to stop other global big boys adopting the clothes of ‘craft’ and authenticity and jumping on the gravy train to attract Millenials. It would be interesting to see if consumers ditched the cool new brand if they later discovered a less than ‘eco micro brewer’ provenance behind it. But it doesn’t appear to have hurt Miller Coors so far.

We’ve seen from Brewdog that size doesn’t appear to matter when classifying yourself as a craft beer. Their independent heritage still stands up even if the funky labels and branding were replaced. But would the public perception of the brand and the company be the same? If not, then the flip side of that would mean it is possible to create an ‘authentic’ brand simply by giving it a craft, authentic image. Because no matter how much their beards may protest otherwise, in reality Millennials do buy into the image and lifestyle of a brand, not just its earthy and honest credentials. Nearly 60% of them say that they buy the brands they do because they reflect their style and personality.


The problem is, if everyone is differentiating themselves with ‘who has the cleverest label’, and with quirky provenance stories of ‘hand picked, nettle fed grains, picked by yaks under a full moon’ – these then become table stakes. So there ends up being no differentiation. And this principle is of course true for any sector – not just craft beers.

Therefore, brands and marketers need to think in new ways to find a sustainable point of difference to engage and retain Millennial customers. For example:

Empower them –  offline, online and on social to put them at the heart of your marketing. By listening, caring, and befriending them even.
e.g. 68% of them have made product comments online when researching a product online.

Provide a unique, rewarding experience – bring your brand’s unique lifestyle to life. 78% of Millennials are more inclined to become part of a brand if they have face-to-face interaction with it.

Be creative! – this generation uses social media and tech to collaborate, share and work in ever more flexible ways – to give them more freedom to live to the life they want to lead. So they respect brands that break from the norm – with the ability to take risks – and be relevant and sympathetic to them. But it takes care. 40% of Millennials don’t like the way brands talk to them on social media. It needs to be compelling and, er, authentic.


[Data sources: BCG Perspectives, Bauer Knowledge, Initiative, GSRA]

By Chris
“Love you too” – Improving your customer relationships


As the pace of change increases in marketing, the traditional “push” approach has rapidly reduced in effectiveness. The socially driven power of the consumer – and the trust based on recommendations from friends (70%) and product reviews (71%) far outweigh the traditional claims by advertisers (a poor 10%). So consumers are thinking differently. (Not much new so far…)

Critically new research has found that consumers actually want to have a relationship with a brand. In fact globally, its claimed by a startling 87%.
But in the UK, only 11% think that brands do it well.

Consumers are sharing content and information about themselves, making purchases and recommending brands, but don’t feel they are getting much in return.

There is growing evidence that experiences are what consumers really value. 73% of UK consumers consider experiences to be more important than possessions. And 60% say that their experience of a brand is the biggest single factor in deciding whether to buy a product or service. Get it right and every single interaction with a brand can become a positive experience – enhancing the consumer’s impression and emotional attachment.

At the very least this is thinking through the traditional ‘touchpoints’. It’s amazing how many brands don’t actually map or understand the journey a consumer makes. But to be truly world-class it’s about ensuring that at every opportunity, an experience is created for consumers – one that they will remember for all the right reasons. It extends beyond social media. Interaction with customers isn’t enough. Today they need to experience your brand and develop a deeper relationship with it by doing so.

Recent studies have proven yet again that rational and emotional criteria must be met by delivering greater responsiveness, participation and involvement with brands. More than three-quarters (78%) say it’s important for brands to respond quickly to their concerns and complaints, while 68% want brands to communicate openly and transparently about their supply chain and just over half (52%) want to be part of the development and refinement process for new products & services.

And in a post recessionary world – where trust is key – more society-based factors are also important. Like transparent values, commitment to community, sustainability and demonstrating a focus beyond profit. 

So if you’re not already doing so, let’s turn the telescope around and see things from a consumer’s perspective. Sweat every detail that impacts your customers. (And give cupid a chance).

By David
Let’s just be friends – why consumers are scared of digital commitment

Brands are increasingly trying to use digital media to connect with their consumers (or customers) in their day-to-day lives. And as previously covered in “Love you too” – improving your customer relationships, consumers do want a relationship with a brand. But marketers need to be cautious before throwing the social toolbox at their fans.

With so many ways to engage, fans generally opt towards passive participation. The simple act of following or liking a brand’s Facebook or Twitter feed requires virtually no effort – and no commitment. In fact this type of “relationship” is almost twice as likely than any other kind of interaction.

But there is definite caution when brands encourage audiences to share or spread information to their wider social group. There’s an “information edit” – where consumers decide what is and isn’t appropriate to share. Only a third have shared or retweeted a company’s social media post. And only 20% have ever shared a photo of a company tagged product, shared a purchase they’ve just made, or shared or retweeted a product. In fact a new study by IPG Mediabrands shows that 80% think people share too much online.

Interactions with Brands & retailers on Social MediaEuromnitor - interactions with Brands & retailers on Social Media But there’s more to it than this.
It’s a question of (lack of) trust. 

The IPG Mediabrands study also reveals a fascinating extra dimension. When it comes to personal data, we’re hugely cautious, even beyond the obvious. Maybe it’s the impact of the credit crunch, mobile hacking scandals, and data breach stories that have hit the headlines. But we don’t trust much info to many people. For example, the person most trusted with personal data is, unsurprisingly, the GP. But even the GP is only trusted by 55% of adults in the UK. Supermarkets, online stores and loyalty operators are all trusted by less than 20%. At the other end of the spectrum,  Twitter is trusted by just 2%.  And only 1% of consumers trust advertisers to look after their data.

So there’s a massive trust gap to factor in to any marketing plan.

No, no, no – I’m really concerned about giving you my info
Well OK then – but for the right price…

Despite all the concerns, 27% would be prepared sell their data for hard cash. Of those, 55% think their data is worth more than £300 per annum. So there is an element of value exchange – if the price is right.

Critically, loyalty schemes remain valued as a reward for participation if well-structured and respect audience’s “message intrusion” boundaries. And they must offer value of course – whether it be free or discounted product, or redeemable points. But it’s not just about the money. Adding value, saving time, improving health or well-being are also valued by consumers.

But in terms of oft-used loyalty techniques for sharing or spreading info driven by brands, the caution cannot be overlooked.  Or put another way,  relatively few of a brand’s fans have been rewarded for their efforts – as for many the reward-for-sharing mechanism just doesn’t appeal.

So what will people share (and what do they want to receive in return)?

It’s probably not exactly what you’d expect – email and home addresses are the info that is most shareable – but recent purchases and loyalty card details are shared less than a date of birth or a mobile number. Around 20% won’t share anything online at all. Ever.

Source: IPG Mediabrands

Overall it’s a complex issue and a strange dichotomy. More than anything, it highlights people’s desire to maintain a private life vs. their need to feel part of the herd. But it’s also clear that brands have to earn the trust of their customers to even get to even get close to holding hands with their data.



By David