“Seventy-five percent of British households buy our products at least once a year; fifty percent of households buy our products at least once every 12 weeks,” according to Birds Eye marketing director Steve Challouma.
It’s an enviable position for the legacy frozen food brand whose founder, Clarence Frank Birdseye II, invented the modern quick-freezing process for food. And since 1922, the company has continued to innovate in various ways, including in marketing by airing the first colour TV ad in the UK back in 1969.
An ill-fated master brand strategy
Fast forward to 2014 and Birds Eye Europe, also operating under the Iglo brand, was now owned by a private equity firm, Permira. Sitting on a profitable but stagnant company, Permira decided to expand its product range and launch a master brand marketing strategy. The rationale was to make the most of its strong presence across Europe. At the Festival of Marketing (London, October 2018), Challouma explained it thus: “you’re not punching your weight. You’re a big brand, and you need to behave like a big brand.”