How a brand of mini stature beat the major players with cheesy humour

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How a brand of mini stature beat the major players with cheesy humour

2023 Gold Effie Winner

Effie is about awarding ideas that work, educating about effective marketing and showcasing the best work to enhance learning in our industry.

How a brand of mini stature beat the major players with cheesy humour

Best of Europe: Food & Beverage


TBWA London


When snack industry sales soared during the year of lockdown, one brand fell behind. That brand was Mini Cheddars. Even though pandemic led to a surge in snack consumption, Mini Cheddars experienced a modest growth of +8.9%, lagging behind the category's robust 13.1% increase. The brand, once a cherished choice, found itself relegated to the 'Friend Zone,' struggling to connect with its adult audience due to a perceived lack of personality. Despite challenges, the campaign aimed to revive the nation's love for Cheddar. Drawing from scientific insights highlighting Cheddar's mood-boosting properties, the objective was to position Mini Cheddars not merely as a snack but as a source of happiness and well-being during challenging times.

#1 Unite the target groups:                   

Mini Cheddars encountered a challenge with its target demographic – adults under 45. Research revealed Mini Cheddars' perception as a brand for children, hindering its connection with the crucial 35-44 age group. The campaign, targeting Millennials and the tail-end of Generation X, sought to attract more without alienating existing users. Convincing this demographic that Mini Cheddars could bring both satisfaction and smiles became a key mission.

#2 Bringing idea to life

To transform Mini Cheddars' image and appeal, the creative process focused on several objectives. First, emphasizing the product truth—real cheese—highlighting its unique selling point of 15% real cheese in every biscuit, triggering serotonin release for happiness. Second, understanding category insights by presenting Mini Cheddars as more than just packed lunches, offering mainstream snackers moments of pleasure anytime, anywhere. These key strategies converged to deliver the brand promise of "Moments of cheeky, cheesy pleasure," brought to life through the animated setting of Cheddar Town.


The campaign was a huge success by every measure, most importantly, for revenue, where a £7 million (+9%) target was answered by a £16 million (+21% performance).

The result speak for themselves:

1. Increased Penetration Across All Age Groups.
The campaign successfully broadened the consumer profile, particularly among under-45 adults, with a notable 4.6% increase in penetration among the crucial 35-44 age group. Impressively, penetration also saw growth across all other age demographics, reflecting the campaign's widespread appeal and effectiveness.

2. From Underperformer to Fastest-Growing Brand.
Before the campaign, Mini Cheddars was underperforming, enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime sales boom. After the campaign it became the fastest-growing brand in a category that had tipped into decline. The campaign was a huge success by every measure, smashing its growth targets for penetration, frequency, audience profile and, most importantly, for revenue, where a £7 million (+9%) target was answered by a £16 million (+21% performance) and an ROI of 1:9.17.

3. A 21% Surge in Sales, Outpacing Targets and Category Growth in Just 11 Months.
The target was to increase annual sales value from £73m to £80m (+9%) in 12 months. Sales exceeded targets more than twice over: In just 11 months, sales increased from £73m to £88.87m (+21%) Mini Cheddars sold over £15m more than in 2020.

4. Doubling Spontaneous Awareness Despite Limited Share of Voice and Diverse Product Launches.
The campaign achieved its ambitious goal of doubling spontaneous awareness from 2% in March 2021 (pre-launch) to 4% in July 2021 (post-ATL). This was despite having just 4.11% share of voice overall. And it was despite a media spend split between three different NPD launches; Mini Cheddars Sticks, Crunchlets and Best of British flavours.

WHY A DOUBLE GOLD EFFIE? Here's what the jurors said.

"A remarkable summary of the competitive landscape with well-defined data-supported objectives. Brand world strategic idea effectively strikes a balance between the cultural context and the brand's ambitions."

"Strong insights about brand perception and the reasons why the brand was where it was. Everything addressed with a very ownable creative approach."

"Nice example of resuscitating a brand and give in meaning in a new era. And a brave step to stay away from the FMCG aesthetic clichés of delicious pack shots."

"Thorough background that enables to understand the challenge. Well documented tangible business results."

"Attractive execution that is relevant to the redefined audience."