12 Days of Advertising – Day 12

Day Twelve: Jasmine Griffin, Whittaker’s

Jasmine accepting the Reader’s Digest award for
Most Trusted Confectionary brand in 2011

Welcome to the final day of the 12 Days of Advertising series! In the war of the chocolate giants we are tied 1 – 1 with guests Jen Corbett and Steve Dimakis, choosing Whittaker’s ‘Swear by the Slab’ and Cadbury’s ‘Share the Joy’ respectively, as their favourite campaigns of 2011. 

To settle the score our final guest is Jasmine Griffin, Brand Manager of Whittaker’s. I first heard Jasmine speak at a digital conference in Auckland earlier this year. I was particularly struck by the way Whittaker’s integrating digital and traditional advertising campaigns. Whittaker’s is a great example of what can be achieved when you have an overall brand strategy – not separate traditional and digital media approaches. 

Growing up Jasmine wanted to be a ballet dancer, while she still dances now, she switched career paths at the last minute and studied Marketing at Victoria University in Wellington. Turning out to be a natural she stayed and achieved First Class Honours. 

Having a sweet tooth she struck it lucky landing the dream job of marketing assistant at Whittaker’s straight from university. It didn’t take long until Jasmine’s skills in digital and branding meant she was promoted to brand manager. She has led the way for Whittaker’s to embrace an integrated social media strategy. 

Don’t forget our Puma giveaway closes 20th December – so leave a comment and tell us what you think to enter! 


The Best of 2011 
Nicole: What was your favourite New Zealand advertising/marketing campaign for 2011?  
Jasmine: While I am just a little bit biased, I would have to say the Whittaker’s “Swear by the Slab” campaign would be my favourite for 2011.

This campaign included our most iconic product, the Peanut Slab, which was first launched in the 1950s in an unwrapped form, and then in its wrapped form in 1984. So it’s been around for a long time! We hadn’t actually done any television advertising for the Peanut Slab in over 10 years.

Our aim was to produce an eye catching campaign that was fun and exciting for the young male audience it was targeted at, and also integrate both online and offline communications seamlessly. We knew that we needed something that would capture this audience effectively (as they tend to have quite high creative wear out rates) so we produced multiple executions to keep the campaign fresh and interesting. 

The creative concept was simple yet effective. Much like a bible in court, you had to ‘Swear by the Slab’ which resulted in some very honest and occasionally awkward situations…there’s nothing better than good honest chocolate right?

We wanted to entertain our audience, give them the chance to participate and be creative, and also create conversations that drive engagement. The television advertising created brand awareness for the campaign and the interactive component that was run through the Whittaker’s Peanut Slab Facebook page provided an excellent platform for engaging fans with the Whittaker’s brand. To watch the montage of ‘Swear by the Slab’ clips check out Day Seven’s guest post by Jen Corbett here

Not only did we ask people to submit their own scripts, we also took this a step further to extend the hype producing 4 of the fan generated scripts and putting them out to the community to vote on. The winner scored a year’s supply of Peanut Slabs and this was the video he posted on our page, which was a great end to a successful campaign.



Nicole: The type of brand love that most of us dream of! The winner of the “Swear by the Slab” competition created this stop-motion video from his prize – a year’s worth of peanut slabs!

Jasmine: In the end I think we managed to successfully integrate both our traditional offline marketing and our digital touch points, revitalising the Peanut Slab brand and building a digital community for the Peanut Slab which we are looking forward to utilising in years to come.

Nicole: The Swear by the Slab is a great example of what can be achieved when traditional marketing and new media is integrated rather than addressed separately. 

As Julie Roulston said on Day One of the 12 Days of Advertising series said: “don’t publish work that is too finished, and publish it in such a way that you optimize people’s ability to borrow it and make it their own”. 

Whittaker’s sowed the seed with their TV campaign and then invited the public to reinvent and create their own versions. Few restrictions were placed on the creative process and the competition spread through Facebook as friends and fans were encouraged to vote for their favourites. Handing control over to your fans is a risk – but one that definitely paid off for Whittaker’s. 

If there’s anything for us to learn in this is – don’t kid yourself when it comes to the integration of your campaign. Whatever the medium or the market – keep it honest. ~ Jen Corbett, Flitter [12 Days of Advertising – Day Seven


Whittaker’s also recognised that the “swear by the slab” campaign and brand had a different “voice” than the rest of the Whittaker’s communications. They started a new Facebook page that has a cheekier, youthful tone (with posts like “If you love someone let them go, they might come back with a Peanut Slab!”). The Peanut Slab Facebook page currently has over 18,000 fans (the main Whittaker’s Chocolate Lovers page has over 72,000). The Peanut Slab ads have been viewed over 80,000 on the Whittaker’s YouTube channel. But most importantly, the campaign led to an impressive increase in sales of Peanut Slabs and recently a brand extension into the ‘mini slab’ range. To quote David Ogilvy “If it doesn’t sell, it isn’t creative”. 


Trends for 2012… Nicole: What do you expect to see more of in 2012? 
Jasmine: I think campaigns that work are ones that can leverage off both offline and online communications. Digital is a new and constantly evolving form of media and at times can be quite hard to keep up with (just look at all the changes Facebook have recently made). 

Inevitably brands are going to be incorporating digital into their strategies but the key thing to remember is that nothing happens in isolation. You can’t have an excellent online strategy without the support of your traditional media. Digital is a key component of any brands overall strategy but it must be integrated with all other communications and it must provide a consistent brand message. 

Nicole: What do you expect (or hope to) see less of in 2012? 
Jasmine: I would like to see more brands understanding the importance of engagement on social media. A large fan base on Facebook/Twitter is beneficial, and many large and established brands pay a lot of money to acquire those fans, but there is no point in spending that money unless you have the right people committed to interacting with those fans on a daily basis, providing knowledgeable and timely responses.

Which chocolate company do you think won the branding battle in 2011? 

Don’t forget that every comment goes into the draw to win a pair of Puma hi-tops – closes 20th December 2011 so get in quick!  



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