Capitalising on long-term brand heritage

How Weetabix revived and reused its most impactful story in the optimal channel

All too often, clients and agencies get bored of ideas that were created years before, wanting to put their own stamp on the brand they’re working on. Unfortunately, this can often mean slow erosion of the things that mean the most to consumers. This was definitely the case for Weetabix... we had a powerful idea in ‘Have you had your Weetabix’ but we forgot about it, wanting to move on with the ‘next big thing’. Unfortunately, this didn’t quite work out the way we hoped, but our back to basics review led us to re-discovering the great distinctive brand asset we’d filed away in the archives and allowed us to unlock the gates to success once again.

Nic Keeley
Senior Consumer Insight Manager at

Practice & Location

Ebiquity Analytics
Office: London


Long-term trends in breakfast-eating in the U.K. have caused declines in the cereal market, with people skipping breakfast, choosing private label alternatives to brands, eating breakfast out of home, or choosing options other than cereal. Although not affected as strongly as some of its
competitors, market leader Weetabix was looking for a fresh approach to marketing to address market and consumer changes that threatened major players’ ability to sustain sales and profit.

A first attempt to refresh the brand in 2015 had seen Weetabix attempt to capitalise on healthy-eating trends, and communication had focused on specific nutritional benefits with a campaign called ‘Incredible Inside’. But the campaign – designed to force reappraisal – had not delivered consistently strong attention and branding. A new lens was required.


To help Weetabix return to growth in a declining market, we used econometric analysis to understand the relationship between historic Weetabix advertising campaigns and the contributions they made to short-term profit return on investment. We found a strong and reliable relationship between branded recognition delivered by advertising and payback performance of a campaign. We concluded – with the client and the agency –
that the messaging that worked best drove attention, branding, and comprehension. We identified that there was still significant potential in the ‘Have you had your Weetabix?’ idea which had run successfully for seven years, with a focus on the ‘yellow box’ masterbrand.

With clarity on message, we turned to medium. With 96% of U.K. households buying breakfast cereal, the primary objective was reach, especially reaching the 66% who had not bought Weetabix in the previous year. Our analysis of hundreds of FMCG campaigns – published with Thinkbox in the study “Profit Ability: the business case for advertising” – meant the medium of choice was TV. This meant putting aside digital display, out of home, and radio. TV delivers 85% of short-term profit for FMCG brands, and TV had historically delivered 3-4 times better ROI
for Weetabix.


Bringing back the line ‘Have you had your Weetabix?’ and focusing spend just on TV dramatically improved the effectiveness and efficiency of the brand’s marketing. The campaign doubled advertising’s sales impact and trebled its return on marketing investment, with returns approaching £0.70 per £1 invested, compared with just over £0.20 for ‘Incredible Inside’. It delivered an extra £4.5m in revenue in 2017, returning Weetabix to growth in a category in steady decline. This helped Weetabix to achieve sales of £151m, up £2.45m (2%), with market share growing 0.2% to 11%.


Improved effectiveness and efficiency of brand marketing

Doubled sales impact and trebled return on marketing investment - £0.70 vs £0.20

Delivered £4.5m new revenue, returning brand to growth in a category in decline

Achieved £150m+ sales for first time, sales up 2%, market share to 11%

Project & Process

Analysed performance of historic Weetabix ad campaigns

Identified levers underpinning most impactful creative brand idea

Understood untapped residual value in ‘Have you had your Weetabix?’ concept

Isolated role of TV to deliver reach needed for attention, branding, and comprehension