Fierce competition among agencies for local brands

AUSTRALIA’S relatively small manufacturing sector has major flow-on effects on the nation’s advertising industry, particularly in WA.

The prominence of the Peters & Brownes brand in WA Business News’ survey is testament to the high profile local products can command.

The account, managed by Marketforce, is one of the only opportunities the advertising industry gets to promote a local product, aside from the burgeoning wine industry. Despite a lack of local competition the market is far from sparse and competition between major brands is fierce.

If you’re an ice-cream connoisseur you might have noticed some interesting moves in the freezer at your local deli.

The story of the Peters & Brownes Trumpet is as much a story about multinationals and the local advertising market as it is about a very famous ice cream.

The Drumstick has gone missing – at least what was once known as the Peters Drumstick is nowhere to be seen.

If you look carefully you’ll see the Drumstick does live on, but there’s a new company name on its wrapper – Nestle.

The story of the Drumstick and its downfall for Peters & Brownes goes back to the 1960s, when the company bought some equipment to manufacture an ice cream in a cone.

Along with the machinery came the brand name, Drumstick, it was in essence a package deal, according to Peters & Brownes group director marketing and technology Dr Nigel Thomas.

“In the early 90s Nestle acquired the Drumstick company,” Dr Thomas said.

Peters & Brownes wasn’t the only manufacturer with the rights to produce the Drumstick. The brand could also be found in other parts of the world.

From the 1990s on, Nestle unrolled a consolidation strategy to bring the Drumstick brand into its own portfolio.

“We were still in the process of negotiating with Nestle when they became competitors and then Nestle took over Peters in the eastern States,” Dr Thomas said.

“The issue was then did we jump or wait to be pushed, we decided to jump.”

The development of the Trumpet, a Drumstick style ice-cream, followed the acquisition of New Zealand company Tip Top.

“We also acquired the Trumpet which was a major brand in New Zealand.”

Peters & Brownes then had to roll out a major campaign to explain to baffled consumers what the Trumpet was and why Drumstick was still available but only as a Nestle product.

This was a daunting task as Peters & Brownes was up against more than four decades of brand development.

“Since 1998 we’ve brought the recognition of the Trumpet up to about 50 per cent of the population,” Dr Thomas said.

Despite resigning this iconic brand, Trumpet has provided the company with an opportunity to explore new markets.

“We knew the Drumstick was ageing and it appealed to an aging population when we re-launched the Trumpet we moved to re-capture some younger consumers,” Dr Thomas said.

“We launched a campaign to say the Drumstick has become the Trumpet but we didn’t dwell on it and then we built it up as a brand in its own right.”

A million-dollar marketing campaign to explain a new brand is not something that could happen as easily today, but it does expose the difficulties in developing a new brand against the backdrop of such an established product.

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