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Lurpak: Feeding the imagination

Bread and butter, what could be nicer? Or more boring for advertising! Lurpak realised this years ago and instead championed the cause of great home cooking in its award-winning global advertising.

The order

Keeping a campaign fresh, though, gets progressively more difficult, and tectonic shifts in nutritional understanding had prompted a range of new food trends. So, in late 2018 Lurpak and its agency W+K needed to update their understanding of their consumer:

Food Lovers. And not just for the standard one-shot next ad development. Unusually and boldly, they wanted a bank of new insights to tap into to create the most cutting edge, relevant communications for the following five years.

The challenge was to deliver a deeper and more nuanced understanding of food lovers' attitudes towards food, behaviours in the kitchen, and relationships with cooking than ever before.

The research needed to go large in terms of scope; mining three key areas, each with multiple dimensions:

They weren't just looking for raw insights either. They wanted clear direction on how Lurpak's "Champions of Good Food" positioning could be brought to life in the most compelling ways. And, if that wasn't enough, this all had to happen across multiple markets in Europe and MENA.

The recipe

That's why we deployed an interlocking series of approaches designed to build layer on
layer, each feeding the next.

Across UK, Denmark, Sweden, Greece, UAE and KSA we conducted:

  • desk research for foundational understanding of market differences;
  • a semiotic study of changing visual and verbal codes in cooking;
  • expert interviews with food writers, chefs, and nutritionists exploring emerging influences and trends;
  • interviews with communications and cultural experts to understand differing cultural sensitivities;
  • an ambitious, two-stage, auto-ethnographic online community with Food Lovers in each market, exploring the evolving mindset, influences and behaviours surrounding cooking and the role of butter;
  • And finally, in home, consumer "Cook-Alongs" added another level to the understanding of how food lovers inhabit their kitchens and the world of food.

For opening the minds of clients and agencies there's no substitute for deep consumer immersion. And the Cook-Alongs, which pivoted around a guided tour of our Food Lover's kitchen and them cooking us a favourite dish, proved an especially lively, expansive tableau. Plus, we got a free meal at a socially acceptable time, unusual for us quallies.

The proof's in the pudding

In a nutshell: this project delivered. It gave the comms team a step change in clarity on, and closeness to, their consumer as well as a springboard to create ads which have already led to impressive cross market category shifts.

The community outputs were designed to enable great storytelling through a vivid array of video, collages, quotes, and anecdotes that gave the findings much greater resonance. It was presented via a day-long immersive workshop with a more detailed bank of curated digital output and a 'Food Love' film as supplementary leave-behinds.

As illuminating and stimulating as all this was, the real strategic direction emerged from carefully constructed and diligent old-school analysis techniques and time-consuming detective work. Through this we identified 15 important cross-market trends. Mapping them against dimensions of pleasure and overlaying different stages of the cooking process then identified very clearly where the most fertile ideas for butter lay, including a new strategic opportunity to kick off with...

…Lurpak had spent years elevating the importance of good home cooking. Now was the time to elevate the cook. W+K ran with this idea and "Where there are cooks" was born. There isn't space here to share all the evidence of this advert's effectiveness but here's a sprinkling:

In Greece, Lurpak is a challenger with half the users of market leader Vitam. Post ad launch, spontaneous awareness doubled YoY to 22%. "My first choice" increased by 7% and brand love by 8%. It overtook Vitam in "tastes better than other brands" and "better quality", and "has great advertising" rose over 10%.

In the UK, where Lurpak is the largest brand by volume, key YoY figures are equally impressive:

  • "Buy nowadays" up 5% to 38%
  • "First Choice" up 4% to 25%
  • Up by 8% to overtake Flora as market leader in brand affinity,
  • "Uniqueness" up 8% to 38% (Anchor next closest on 29%)
  • "Worth paying more for" up 6% to 37%

Where the ad was pre-tested, key metrics were also well above the market average.

But effectiveness isn't just about hard data. An equally important measure is how it impacted on the people it was conducted for, so we'll give the client the last word:

"This research was a real eye opener, giving us a much more nuanced and 3-D understanding of our consumer, as well as a vivid picture of the key trends and a very clear understanding of how Lurpak could best tap into them. It has already proved a great springboard for effective advertising and is a constant companion in everything else we do with the brand. Like all really useful pieces of research it lives on vividly and is referred to regularly." (Christian Fischer, Global Vice President Lurpak, Arla)

 

Peter Fenton-O'Creevy
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2020

This paper was jointly written by Peter Fenton-O'Creevy and Matt Allen of Folk Research, and was the winning entry in the AQR Qualitative Excellence Award 2020.