19/08/2003 - 22:00

Jesters gets a taste for success

19/08/2003 - 22:00

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Jesters Jaffle Pie Company has been highlighted by members of WA’s advertising industry as the State’s best emerging brand. Julie-anne Sprague unearths its branding success.

Jesters gets a taste for success

AN aggressive distribution strategy coupled with mass media advertising has helped Jesters Jaffle Pie Company achieve a high level of market exposure in the crowded fast food industry.

In just two years Jesters has grown its retail franchise outlets from four stores to 32, and has expanded into Victoria.

About 10,000 Jesters pies are sold each day. Bought last year by listed beef producer AACo, Jesters’ rapid growth has helped the company achieve good brand recognition, according to its WA general manager Deryk Kippen.

“We began operating in 1997 and we had three stores up until 2000-2001, then we grew to 28 very quickly,” Mr Kippen said.

“We now have 32 stores with two of those in Victoria. Each store would sell between 300 and 400 pies a day.”

He said recent market research had demonstrated that the company was attracting a very broad range of customers.

“We thought our market was the 18 to 30-year-olds but research that we are doing now shows that people from 18-40 are visiting our stores. The 30 to 40-year-old market is something that we hadn’t identified previously and we are now moving to advertise more on 94.5,” Mr Kippen said.

The company spends a large proportion of its $1 million advertising budget with the major commercial radio stations, 92.9, 96fm and 94.5.

“That is the best medium for us at the moment. We did television advertisements two years ago and it worked wonders and it put us on the map in terms of brand awareness, but we did it again last year and it was not as successful,” Mr Kippen said.

Marketforce has held the Jesters advertising account for the past eight months.

Marketforce’s Howard Read said the radio strategy was aimed at reaching people at times when they might be hungry.

“The Jesters brand has a strong position as an irreverent brand. It tends to poke fun at the other established names and brands. It has a young image and a fun image,” he told WA Business News.

As well as branding ads, Mr Kippen said the company was marketing its products to the convenience market, as well as the ready-to-go market.

“We started providing frozen pies about six months ago but we weren’t doing it very well. We’ve repackaged the pies and launched it and have radio ads promoting it,” he said.

“We identified an opportunity in the convenience market.

“It’s an opportunity for us but we’re not going to compete with Mrs Mac’s. It’s something that will remain as part of the in-store concept.

Mr Kippen said the company had a retail strategy that differentiated itself from its fast food competitors.

“It’s easy to do what fast food chains do. You can offer a whole range of things but we’ve stuck to our guns,” he said.

“We have a seasonal pie, which we change every so often to keep the marketing strong. People can try new things that way. We have 15 varieties and you can do lots and lots of things, but we’re not about that.

“There are production costs and we have to keep it simple because you can get carried away with it.”

Mr Kippen said the number of Jesters stores in WA would increase only slightly in the next few years, with most of this growth likely in regional areas.  He said the company saw strong growth in the Victorian market.

 

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