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Deep Dive 12 May 2021 - 5 min read

Sweet success: Mondelez marketing chief says boosting brand investment powering massive growth

By Danielle Long - Contributing Editor

Cadbury and Oreo owner Mondelez increased its marketing spend by 17 per cent in 2020 and boosted sales and market share across its brands.

The chocolate confectionery category has experienced “extraordinary” growth rates over the last year and Mondelez brands, including Cadbury and Oreo, were among the big winners. Mondelez senior marketing director ANZ, Paul Chatfield, says topping the company’s sustained investment in brand building with a 17 per cent media investment boost has paid off.

What you need to know:

  • “Extraordinary” growth rates in the chocolate confectionery category – up 7 per cent.
  • Mondelez increased media spend by 17 per cent in 2020.  
  • Mondelez brands grew market share and sales during lockdown and throughout 2020.
  • Market share is the critical indicator of success; while customers in supermarkets increased this growth was not equal across all brands in strong categories.
  • Marketing chief Paul Chatfield says the established brands that maintained investment during Covid grew sales and share.  
  • Consumers were looking for brands that were familiar and maintained relevant messaging during lockdowns.

While businesses might talk about having grown, the key question is, did you actually gain share? Did you do things better than the market? And did consumers reward that by giving you more of their dollars?

Paul Chatfield, senior marketing director ANZ, Mondelez

2020 was a big year for chocolate. The category experienced “extraordinary” growth, and the strong brands that maintained investment were able to reap the benefits. That’s the view of Paul Chatfield, senior marketing director ANZ for Mondelez.

 

“2020 was obviously an incredibly challenging year for so many businesses and brands.  What we saw play out in the market last year, and continuing into this year, is the strongest brands are thriving,” says Chatfield.

 

“The strongest brands, arguably, are those that have had sustained investment over a long period of time and maintained relevant messaging from a consumer point of view, both before and throughout 2020.

 

“That's exactly where we've been for some time now. We saw that last year as consumers were looking for a greater level of familiarity from brands that they know and trust, that's exactly where we were able to gravitate to.”

 

Mondelez Chocolate market share grew 2 percentage points during the Covid lockdown period (March-May 20), ending the year up 0.7 percentage points, while Chocolate Blocks were up 1.4 percentage points during lockdown and 0.5 percentage points in FY 2020.

 

There were standout brands too: Cadbury increased its market share by 0.9 percentage points in 2020 (1.9pp during lockdown), Oreo’s share was up 0.6 percentage points for the year and Old Gold grew 0.9pp in FY20 thanks to a 35% increase in retail sales year-on-year.

While businesses might talk about having grown, the key question is, did you actually gain share? Did you do things better than the market? And did consumers reward that by giving you more of their dollars?

Paul Chatfield, senior marketing director ANZ, Mondelez

Share is everything

 

While the overall confectionery category was incredibly strong, growing 7% last year, Chatfield dismisses ideas that brands were able to ride the coattails of successful categories.

 

“It plays out across all categories, whether it's banking, health insurance, or automotive, the strongest brands, and the brands that have been sustainably strengthened, are the ones that do best in the toughest times. That's the reality of it. So, whether the market is absolutely flying or not flying doesn't have a bearing on your share. That's to do with the action that you take.

 

“While businesses might talk about having grown, the key question is, did you actually gain share? Did you do things better than the market? And did consumers reward that by giving you more of their dollars? That's the key question that we look at as a business, and that's how we judge whether we're winning or not.”

 

“There was an increased push of consumers into supermarkets, but they didn't push into every brand equally,” continues Chatfield.  

 

"We gained share versus our competitors last year, and we gained a significant amount of share across the year. [Mondelez's success in 2020] was certainly contributed to by that investment, there is no doubt, but it's also the result of sustained long-term investment."

We certainly do have growth targets this year. We're not taking it lying down in terms of saying, ‘last year was extraordinary’. It was, but our expectation is that we need to continue that growth.

Paul Chatfield, senior marketing director ANZ, Mondelez

Boosting the budgets in 2020

 

When Covid lockdown’s first rolled out, Chatfield determined to continue spending, albeit with adjustments to accommodate sales channels that were no longer relevant.

“We initially maintained our core brand through a two-month period. Then where we saw areas that were likely to be impacted, we pressed pause with the view of reinvesting as we saw the circumstances unfold in terms of consumer behaviour and channel behaviour through the year.”

The strategy required his team to replan media and rejig campaigns to accommodate the “new normal”.  

“As an example, Covid struck right through the centre of Easter plans for us. We certainly didn't walk away, but we had to significantly replan our Easter activation as it’s an incredibly significant event for our business.

“Where we could, we continued forward with all of our media plans and investments. What we did have to pivot on though, was all of the events we would normally do in the community and all of that became donated stock to food banks.

This continued through the year for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween and Christmas.

“Where it was appropriate, we created new campaigns or new content for the circumstances that we were in at that moment. We invested behind [the new campaigns] where we already had powerful existing work, we continued investing heavily behind that, such as Cadbury Dairy Milk or Oreo, for example.”

 

Relevance and familiarity win the day

Chatfield says relevance became more crucial than ever in its marketing and media planning, with cities and states experiencing different levels of lockdowns.

The context that every one of us lived under was, there was a commonality in it, but it was even more huge for different people across the country and even different sectors of the workforce. If you're living in Victoria, you caught a significantly greater brunt of it over the course of last year than other states and we reflected that in our spend as well as in our messaging. We did a break by geographies to ensure our messaging was right for the places where we were advertising. I think that’s something we don't do enough of in Australia, is we don't think about our different geographies.”

Chatfield says consumers were also looking for familiarity from brands, and Mondelez leveraged this to launch new products into the market.

“Australians were still absolutely looking for, what we would refer to as, ‘new but familiar’. It was in lieu of having a holiday or in lieu of being able to eat out or in lieu of having some other experience, those taste experiences that we were able to access were still important.

We saw this through a number of epic launches last year that were some of the most successful in our time,” says Chatfield.

Off the back of a strong year, the expectations for 2021 are high, and Chatfield intends to deliver.

“We certainly do have growth targets this year. We're not taking it lying down in terms of saying, ‘last year was extraordinary’. It was, but our expectation is that we need to continue that growth, as we have been doing.

“Ultimately, It's the mix of all those actions that we took, which contributed greatly to strengthen our position over the course of the full year,” says Chatfield.  

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