LONDON: Soft drinks firm Britvic has reported a successful partnership with actor Idris Elba in generating sales of its Purdey’s brand, but less achievement in building the brand itself.

Speaking at the Digital Marketing World Forum in London, Kassy Dignam, Britvic’s global digital marketing consultant, outlined why brands are turning to influencers, including the facts that people are spending more time than ever on social and mobile, and that influencers enable brands to sidestep issues around viewability and ad blocking.

The choice of influencer will depend on the marketing objectives and while Dignam regarded it as fortunate that Purdey’s caught Elba when it did, signing him up to a three-year contract, she added that there had been some unforeseen consequences for the brand's 2016 campaign.

“We've gone with a global rising superstar who's given us reach and credibility but not necessarily in the right areas,” she explained.

That became evident when looking more closely at the “overwhelmingly positive” sentiment being expressed on social.

“There were a lot of Americans but this product isn't sold in America,” said Dignam. “It hasn't necessarily built our brand in the way we wanted it to.”

Another issue emerged during awareness testing, which revealed that “We did more to build Idris's personality than we did our own brand”.

That's because there wasn't a strong role for the brand in the initial campaign. “People were remembering the ad, remembering Idris but not really taking Purdey's out of it,” she reported.

Those brand-building caveats aside, market share and penetration rose by 25% and 20% respectively.

“We're calling it a success,” said Dignam, “from the point of view of getting the right person at the right time and knocking on the right doors.

“There’s work on improving the brand's role in that,” she added.

Data sourced from WARC