Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Learning from Wispa as they say 'thank you' - and answer my Twitter question

Wispa have just (indirectly) answered a Twitter question I posed on the 8th December 2008.

Wispa Twitter questionAlexandra Palace fireworks twittering

It would appear that the fireworks in question were to mark the end of the filming of the fortheloveofwispa ad - pre-activity discussed by Rick Lamb here and this is the final fortheloveofwispa film:

Fortheloveofwispa is hosted at and is also being promoted with a Wispa press ad that says 'Thank You':

Wispa Thank You press adWispa 'Thank You' press ad

The Wispa 'Thank You' ad says 'thank you for storming Glastonbury and thank you for the Facebook campaign. Thank you for buying it and thank you for loving it' and marks the end of an amazing 12 months for the chocolate bar.

In the 1980's Wispa was the second largest brand in the Cadbury portfolio, but as sales faded Wispa was delisted in 2003. As Facebook and YouTube really came to prominence in 2007, consumers started spontaneously using these platforms to demand the 'return of Wispa.'

Over 500 Facebook groups were created in support of the return of Wispa. Cadbury tuned into this buzz and brought Wispa back for a trial period in late 2007.

Facebook Bring Back WispaJust a few of the 500 'Bring Back Wispa' Facebook Groups (click for larger image)

The trial period was successful enough to persuade Cadbury to bring back Wispa permanently in 2008:

Wispa Back By Public demandWispa 'Back By Popular Demand' point of sale activity

In 2008 Wispa continued to sell well becoming Cadbury's 'star performer' and delivered a 'record £25m in sales':

Wispa star performer for CadburyWispa is Cadbury's 'star performer' (click for larger image - from Metro)

This makes a great case study around how social media can influence product development and ultimately drive sales. There are a number of things that can be learnt from Wispa's success and adapted for other products / categories.

In my view the 3 key take-outs from Wispa are:

1) Tuning into what consumers are saying on social media platforms can give great insight for media and creative, but can also be invaluable in other areas of marketing such as product development

2) Once you have identified buzz and started to engage consumers it needs to be framed with a long term / strategic approach - Wispa have done a great job of keeping the buzz going and have shown the value of a consistent, continual consumer relationship

3) Wispa have delivered sales success without resorting to mass scale TV advertising - showing the power of word of mouth and community marketing if it can be activated around an appealing product in an authentic way

Interesting to see what Wispa do next and how much of their model is picked up by other brands.


David Wilding said...

I agree Nick, think this is a great campaign (I would say that though wouldn't I?).

Interesting that your twitter question has now been answered albeit 3 months later. I won't be at all surprised now that twitter has gone mainstream to see brands seeking to answer questions like this directly and more immediately (i.e. Wispa going to twitter on the day of the fireworks and actively looking at tweets referencing Alexandra Palace or fireworks in order to post replies).

Would either be freaky big brotherish or quite cool depending on the execution.

Ryan Fitzgibbon said...

I have been a little surprised to only just see the thank you notes coming out in the press.

I featured the advert back on the 9th January (!):

But it is good to see that they are willing to thank the public for the success they have had from the social aspects that have led them to it.