Published on : Thursday, September 1, 2016
One of the important contributors to industry engagement with Tourism NI’s Year of Food and Drink (YoFaD) has been that ‘size doesn’t matter’, with participation from single outfit sole businesses as crucial to its success as big money brand campaigns. However, when the region’s largest private sector business – and one of the UK’s top 15 food companies – throws its weight behind the idea it can only be taken as a major vote of confidence for the 12-month-long initiative designed to place food and drink at the heart of the visitor experience.
That business is Moy Park, Ireland’s number one poultry brand and the north’s largest private employer with around 8,500 workers locally. With 13 European processing and manufacturing sites and the capacity to process 240 million birds annually; 800 farmers and 35 million chickens on the ground at any given time, the influence of the organisation cannot be underestimated. Having joined the Brazilian JBS Group in 2015 the company, which grew from a County Tyrone farm in the 1940s, is now part of the largest protein company in the world.
“People really underestimate the size of the business,” said Briege Finnegan who as Brand Marketing Manager is responsible for marketing Moy Park branded products throughout the NI/ROI and GB markets. We employ over 12,000 people across NI and GB and in addition to chicken, we are also a leading manufacturer of turkey having acquired O’Kane Poultry in Ballymena in 2010.
“As such a key player in the Northern Ireland agri-food industry we are committed to the growth of the food sector and the Year of Food and Drink provides the ideal platform for us to showcase our produce. The Year is a very exciting time for Northern Ireland and a real chance to highlight the quality of our food and tourism offering.”
Moy Park’s YoFaD activity has been carefully integrated into its strategic marketing plan for 2016, which focuses on the quality and innovation of the brand. Throughout 2016 the Moy Park brand maintained a strong presence at trade and consumer shows to raise awareness amongst customers and consumers – and has also engaged in a number of tactical partnerships including sponsorship of UTV Ireland’s Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open.
“The purpose of Moy Park’s brand marketing plan is to create awareness, generate brand interest and drive consideration and intent to purchase,” explained Briege.
“At the start of the year we launched our new creative campaign and messaging for 2016, ‘Share the Goodness’, which is the core of all of our marketing activity. The focus of the campaign is very much on fun, family and happiness with Moy Park providing the feel good factor when it comes to food, family meal times and days out.”
Like the Year of Food and Drink, the company’s campaign messages focus on provenance, heritage and expertise with August’s ‘Love NI Meat Month’ providing a perfect opportunity to promote both the Moy Park range and local meat produce.
“To celebrate the NI Year of Food and Drink’s ‘Love NI Meat Month’ we wanted to create something really unique and engaging for consumers so we teamed up with local chef Jenny Bristow to visit key iconic locations in our ‘Little Yellow Sampling’ van where Jenny created delicious chicken recipes,” said Briege.
“Jenny is a much-loved chef and her experience, creativity and knowledge of local produce meant she was the perfect partner for us. We travelled with Jenny to Titanic Belfast, Ebrington Square in Derry and the Giant’s Causeway to film recipe videos for our social media channels. The main platform for our meat month activity has been social media – it’s a great way to engage with our consumers.”
Moy Park has engaged in a range of innovative and varied marketing activity throughout the year including a bus shelter transformed into an ‘outdoor oven’ in Belfast City Centre to promote and drive sales of Moy Park’s Roast in the Bag range.
“We also ran a selfie competition on the Moy Park Chicken Facebook page encouraging the public to take a photo in the ‘oven’ and upload to Facebook to win restaurant vouchers. The oven received great media coverage and traction online – as well as the seal of approval from passing visitors.”
The Balmoral Show, in which the company take part every year, was also made extra special by the Year of Food and Drink, added Briege.
“This year we had the Moy Park corporate marquee for our customers and growers as well as our popular stand in the NI Food Pavilion. Visitors to the show had the chance to sample Moy Park’s delicious product range, as well as giving them a chance to putt their way to the Irish Open with a special golf-themed activity.”
Golf themed activity has played a major part in Moy Park’s marketing strategy over recent years with sponsorship of the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open providing a platform for raising brand awareness and promoting engagement.
“To celebrate our sponsorship and help build anticipation ahead of the tournament, we launched an on-pack promotion across our breaded range, which gave three pairs of lucky consumers the chance to win the ‘Ultimate Irish Open Experience’ which included tickets to the Tournament. The winning couples came from Kent, Richhill and Wicklow – showing the reach of our competition. We supported both our sponsorship and the on-pack promotion with tactical outdoor advertising, PR and digital media.
“The Moy Park brand also had a presence at the event in the Championship Village where we showcased our products using our sampling van and a golf-themed family activation to win a fantastic Foodie Weekend trip to Northern Ireland in October.”
And despite the end of Love NI Meat month drawing near, the company is far from done with its YoFaD plans and is looking forward to the first BBC Good Food Show to be held in Belfast this Autumn.
“Oh, we’re far from finished,” explained Briege. “Our little yellow van will be taking up residence in Belfast’s Waterfront Hall for the inaugural BBC Good Food Show Belfast. We will be sampling from our popular breaded range as well as inviting visitors to have a go on our spin and win wheel – and of course Moy P will be on hand to entertain the crowds.