2017 Winner

Fisherman's Friend

Suck It Up

Giants & Gentlemen

BronzeEvolution Strategy: Keeping it Fresh

While Fisherman’s Friend has enjoyed steady sales over the last 25 years, sales had remained relatively flat year-over-year during the last five years.

Fisherman’s Friend brand had lost its way in Canada, and the challenge for Giants & Gentlemen was to re-invigorate the brand amongst the eroding younger demographic without alienating a loyal older base.

There was an opportunity to turn the distinct taste of the leading SKU – Original Extra Strong – into a positive trigger. This strong taste, plus the 150-year heritage, led the team to align Fisherman’s Friend with the adage of “when the going gets tough, the tough gets going.”

The idea is Fisherman’s Friend is like tough love for your throat. The “Suck it up” campaign shows how some people have become softies, using first world problems to demonstrate.

Today’s battle scars include getting a sniffle, having a bad hair day, or not being able to keep up with the Kardashians. The only cure? Suck It Up.

The “tough love” campaign was ideal for the older, loyal fan base, and Fisherman’s Friend’s traditional TV/radio media plan aimed to reach them. However, the brand also needed to ensure it engaged a younger audience (25- to 35-year-olds) by creating emotional, memorable digital interactions.

To compliment TV and radio, the brand made a significant shift to social and online, with Twitter as the main channel.
The agency trolled people posting about first world problems and told them to “#SuckItUp.”

It even created “Disgruntled Grandma” video responses and used radio personality Todd Shapiro of 102.1 to conduct on-the-street memorable content.

The team then supported the social drive with partnerships and activations with Tough Mudder, CFL teams and “Suck it Up” moments on Sportsnet’s morning highlights.

TV and digital ads also ran during the peak cough/cold season. The brand saw a 40% growth in sales compared to 2015, which is dramatic given the size of the brand and the fact that year-over-year growth is normally 5%.

Fisherman’s Friend Twitter account followers grew 115% through four million impressions and 70,000 engagements. The “Suck it up” campaign has resulted in strong brand recall (80% aided), with digital ad recall doubling since 2016 to 15%.

Brand: TFB & Associates (Fisherman's Friend)
Agency: Giants & Gentlemen
CDs: Alanna Nathanson, Natalie Armata
Copywriter: Brandon Tralman-Baker
Art Directors: JP Spanbauer, Jordan Heidendahl
CSO: Gino Cantalini
Strategist: Marianne McBean
VP, head of client services: Steve Waugh
Account director: Julie Wierzbicki
Community manager: Jaime Cruise
Production house: Revolver Films
Producer: Sumit Ajwani
Director: James Brown
Music & sound: Apollo Studios
Media agency: Mediacom

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Rowan Traynor at 1-416-408-2300 x213 or rtraynor@brunico.com.