How Social Media Saved SPC Ardmona

How Social Media Saved SPC Ardmona
By Thomas Murrell

Social media has saved Australia's largest food-packing brand SPC by increasing sales by more than 50 per cent (image source: abc online).

And it didn't initially cost the company a cent.

That's because the idea didn't come out of a big advertising agency.

Instead it came from a food blogger.

The federal government may have denied SPC Ardmona a $25 million assistance package but a nostalgic social media campaign "SPC Sunday" has encouraged shoppers to buy the product to support the fruit-packing company.

Newcastle resident and food blogger Linda Drummond created the SPC Sunday campaign on the back of negative news in the media about the future of SPC.

She tweeted on Thursday Feb 6th 2014: “To support SPC let's have a Twitter Peaches and Icecream night this Sunday Feb 9”.

She encouraged people to show support by posting a picture of themselves enjoying a tin of an SPC product.

“This all started with a conversation with a few friends about our great childhood memories of eating SPC fruits with ice cream,” Ms Drummond told the Australian media.

“We though this would be a fun way to empower people to not just talk about supporting Australian grown and made food, but to act on it.”

Politicians and celebrities supported the movement, and when launched the hashtag received more than 10,000 tweets in three days. An SPC Sunday Facebook page also has more than 2,500 likes and the campaign cranked up more than 20 million impressions.

The success of the campaign came as a surprise to Ms Drummond.

“I'm still shocked at how quickly the support grew and am so proud of the awareness that this simple idea was able to gain,” she said.

“I hope this encourages people to continue to support SPC Ardmona and check the labels to see where their food has come from.”
The campaign is now being supported by full page print ads in all the daily metropolitan newspapers.

So what are the marketing lessons in this social media case study?

1. Single Minded Strategy

The best ideas are the most simple.

As the food blogger herself told the ABC:

"We're a proud nation. We create things, we grow things, we manufacture things, we build things. We need to get behind that and the most basic thing we can do as a consumer is buy the Australian product,"

2. An Easy Call to Action (CTA)

Every great campaign must have an easy to implement call to action.

This one was simple - enjoy SPC product on Sunday.

3. Simple Creative Brief

Share an experience (recipe, moment, product usage) on social media.

4. Raise Awareness to Shift Product

Raise awareness of the issue and how you as a consumer can help solve it.

This motivated people to be aware of the issue and buy the product.

A case of cause related marketing.

Buy the product because you care about the cause and the future of the company.

5. Build On Back of Media Awareness

The SPC funding issue dominated the news and divided the community.

Should the Government spend $25 million dollars of taxpayers money to support or prop-up a commercial enterprise?

Leverage off media coverage in mainstream media.

When an issue is hot - timing is everything .

6. Make It Visual

Social media is all visual - it is all pictures.

The idea to share photos was brilliant and instagram really came into its own as a social media marketing tool.

7. Few Words

The fewer the words the better.

In this case alliteration (the repetition of the same sounds or of the same kinds of sounds at the beginning of words or in stressed syllables of an English language phrase) was used to great effect in "SPC Sunday".

Using the product or brand in the tagline was also a brilliant strategy.

8. Use Emotion

There's an old saying that "facts tell and emotions sell".

Keep it warm and fuzzy.

Appealing to a consumer's sense of nostalgia was a stroke of genius by the food blogger as she explains in another media interview.

"It totally touched the hearts of people. I think we're seeing so many people now who realise that we are Australians and we have to fight for other Australians. And it's not an angry issue either; it really is a genuine, caring, heart-felt one and something that we can all tap back into our childhood, so there's this lovely sense of nostalgia."

"I had someone yesterday tweeting a picture of using her grandma's jaffle iron to make an SPC baked bean jaffle for lunch. And so there's that. There's that wonderful sense of nostalgia and sharing something with their families that they've grown up with. Creating a tradition really, a family tradition that helps people. What's not to love?"

9. Simple Hashtag


The speed at which twitter can gain a following is truly amazing.

The simpler and more memorable the hashtag the easier it is to share.

10. Back-up with Traditional Media

Once the idea gained momentum tradition media picked it up and then it spread further.

 Supermarkets picked up the vibe and ran with it in their advertising.

Then the company used traditional advertising to reinforce the brand and message and say thank you.

This completes the circle.

In summary, a brilliant, easy to share and act on strategy that had me reaching for the can of SPC peaches for dessert on a Sunday night, even if I didn't take a photo and tell the world about it!

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