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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Being a ‘Classic Favourite' is Key

While the Irish crisp market has had some new additions in the last few years, with the arrival of Irish owned brands such as Keogh's and O'Donnell's, it still seems the classic favourites Tayto, Walkers and King dominate the market, which clearly shows that Irish customers have very strong loyalty to their favourite crisp. This brand loyalty is key to succeeding within this market, as once consumers decide they like one particular brand it can be hard to sway them to another. There may be some barriers to entry for these new brands, however. One of these barriers would be that the market is already quite saturated with many brands offering similar products. This is where Tayto becoming a true iconic brand will be crucial for the company.

Healthier options are quickly becoming a customer favorite within the market. Tayto have already dipped their toe into this market with their 'velvet crunch' low fat crisp. The health and wellness market is quite a lucrative one with the Irish market being worth €2.2 billion in 2017 (Euromonitor international, 2017). If we focus in on crisps within this market, Tayto's direct competition would be 'Veronica's Snacks' and those similar to it. The prices within the savory snack market are due to rise, especially within the crisp market due to the government addition of the 'Sugar Tax'. Unit prices also increased in 2017 due to more premium options coming onto the market. Both of these factors are leading to an increase in price for the consumer and also a decrease in profit margins for the business.

In 2017 the Irish savory snacks market was valued at €598 million, which was a 4% growth on the previous year. Tayto's parent company Largo food occupy 27.9 % of this market. If we investigate this market and just focus on the crisp segment, Tayto occupies fourteen percent of this segment, with its nearest competitor, Walkers, following closely behind at 13.8%.

Competition can be either direct (competing by selling the same products) or indirect (competing for the same market) (Oman, 2011). Tayto's direct competition, would be Walkers, King, or Hunky Dorys. While Tayto does lead the market in this sector, Walkers are a very close second in market share and some care should be taken to ensure they do not bypass Tayto in sales and popularity. In terms of indirect competition, this would be concerned with the likes of Kellogg's and Manhattan peanuts. While Tayto does have a significant lead in the market it is important to be aware of competitors to ensure the best competitive advantage.

What Exactly is “Iconic”

An iconic brand is a powerful cultural symbol that resonates, that people care about, that is used every day and is an important component of people's lives. (Lecture 11.) Iconic brands are brands that have become cultural icons. They are instantly recognisable by consumers. Powerful visual cues give the brand an advantage over others as it ensures marketing communication is linked to the correct brand. ( 2018). When brands form deep cultural roots, it aids them in building up a rapport with consumers and so ensures a long standing resilience in the market-place.

Icons are built according to principles entirely different from those of conventional marketing. They succeed because they forge deep cultural connections, as well as delivering benefits, trustworthy service etc. They are particularly apparent in lifestyle products such as food, clothing etc. as these products are used everyday and are important components of people's identity. The main goal of icons is symbolism. This symbolism is the driving force of icons as they zone in on cultural tensions that they can exploit. Icons are valued as people get to experience powerful myths through them. Roland Barthes once said “A myth isn't just a genre of stories, it's a way of saying something.” One of the main tasks of a myth is to present a set of values as if it were a natural condition of the world (Holt 2003).

Lifelong Bonds with our Brand

Branding has been defined as “The marketing processes by which a company, product, or service acquires a distinctive identity in the minds of consumers—becoming associated with particular values, lifestyles, and meanings”(Chandler & Mundy 2016). As the market for crisps is so undoubtedly crowded with big name competitors vying for market domination, it was imperative that Tayto created a unique brand identity to be solidified in the minds of consumers. “With the right branding, businesses can increase their product's perceived value, establish relationships with their customers that span ages and borders, and nurture those relationships into a lifelong bond” (Airey 2010). Over the course of this report, our goal is to refine the brand strategy model used by Tayto, while still paying homage to the values and meanings that the brand community has come to expect.

From Cheese and Onion to Symbols and Myths

In the past, Tayto's brand positioning has relied heavily on a features centered positioning strategy. This strategy aided Tayto in differentiating itself from other brands in the market (Clancy and Trout 2002 as cited in Fuchs and Diamantopoulos). The fact that Tayto was the “original Irish crisp”, as seen on its packaging, the invention of the cheese and onion flavoured crisp by Tayto, and being the first company in Ireland to manufacture extruded snack products has differentiated Tayto from other crisp brands. Before all the other crisp brands flooded the market this positioning worked well for the Tayto brand.  The obvious marketing use for Tayto includes choice, competition and convenience, something which can be proven by the establishment of the King crisp company in 1972 following Tayto's 1954 release. Tayto has established a strong branding front and thus may excel from the quality assurance and reassurance use of marketing whereby consumers view the brand as a warranty and are more inclined to consume a product whose advertisement campaigns are numerous, making the purchase less risky (O'Donohoe 1993). In addition to quality of the brand, Irish people, visitors and newcomers to the country may construct their self-identity when consuming this brand, enhancing the ‘Irishness' one may seek to carry. The non-marketing use which stood clear for us – entertainment. We believe although subtle, our ad will move into the mind of the audience member's, willingly or unwillingly, due to the co-creation embedded within the image. The consumer will use their own experience of sitting in a pub with friends from all nationalities, enjoying a snack which is usually a bag of Tayto and feeling a level of belonging and a sense of community. This connection along with the old blending with the new will allow entertainment for the audience as they realise how times have changed yet how they haven't in some respects. In our new ad campaign we will move away from positioning relying on features of our product to a more Indirect/ Experiential positioning. Using this strategy, we will utilise the symbolic advantages of Tayto and the perception of self/social image provided by consuming Tayto. This shift in strategy helps Tayto to capitalise on its iconicity (Alden et al as cited in Gammoh et al 2011)

Emotions and Culture

“The concept of a brand clearly links the notion of personal identity with consumption in everyday life” (O'Barr 2007). For Tayto, creating a brand community was the way in which they conveyed this notion of personal identity. Using the concept of ‘consciousness of kind', and the intrinsic connection of ‘being Irish' , Tayto promoted their product with ideas of home, security and family values. This was done using the models of Mind-Share and Emotional Branding in tandem. Both of these model's centre around creating feelings in consumers, as Mindshare Branding “seeks to associate the brand with a set of attributes, emotions, symbols, activities and behaviours in consumers' minds” (O'Barr 2007), while emotional branding “extends the mind share approach by focusing specifically on the identification of key emotions linked to the brands” (O'Barr 2007). When managing a brand, it is imperative that a company uses one or more brand models in tandem in order to maximise customer loyalty to the brand. However, in order for Tayto to truly develop their status as an iconic brand, they must move forward with their marketing campaign to deploy a cultural branding strategy.

Target National Contradictions

Icons aim to go after veins of intense anxieties and desires in society. In our ad campaign for Tayto, we are focusing on the social issues of emigration and immigration. Post-famine time saw a massive 1.5 million people leave the country in search for better opportunities and lifestyles. Moving forward around 100 years, back in the 1950's, when Tayto first came out approximately half a million people left Ireland, about 16% of the population. (University College Cork 2018). In our ad campaign, we want to emphasise the fact that people are now returning to Ireland as well as people are moving to Ireland from different countries. In the first 3 months of 2016 alone, 79,300 people immigrated to Ireland (, 2016). The immigration patterns of the EU have changed dramatically in a short period of time. Countries such as Ireland, Spain and Greece which were once major countries for emigration have now been brought to the forefront of this immigration wave. ( This is great for our ad campaign as it further emphasises the flow of people into the country.

Create Myths that Lead Culture

Icons lead popular culture. They earn market power because they deliver myths that ‘repair' the culture. They put existing cultural materials to new purpose to provoke the audience to think differently about themselves. Buying products with hedonistic intentions can aid in forming social identity and helps individuals become members of larger societies (Jantzen et al 2012). For years, Tayto have been sent overseas to Irish people to help with homesickness and in 2016 it was revealed as the most missed food by Irish emigrants. According to the Diaspora Decides study, 59% of 342 returning Irish emigrants said that Tayto had been their most missed Irish food while they were abroad. (O'Riordan, A. 2016). With our advert we would like to shift the emotional connection and focus on how Tayto now utilises emotion in a different way, by making individuals feel part of a bigger group, “being irish”.

Speak with a Rebel's Voice

Icons draw on people who live according to alternative ideals. We must understand the rebels point of view. In comparison to the olden days when it was mainly older men spending time socialising in places such as a pub, drinking stout and of course, eating Tayto crisps. In our ad campaign we want to show both men and women from all over the world come together, in Ireland to enjoy each other's company while consuming Tayto crisps as well as all different types of drinks and food. This emphasises the change in our society and ensures an image of an equal, diverse and inclusive country.

Draw on Political Authority to Rebuild the Myth

The myth must be reincarnated when ideology ruptures as the value of the myth is erased. Even if the myth loses value, consumers still believe it will speak for them again because of the trustworthiness of the service and the deep-rooted link the consumer has formed with the brand. As Tayto has been around 1954, long-term consumers will continue to purchase it as they feel they have grown up with it and it brings a sense of nostalgia and kinship between them. Also, consumers feel as though they can trust the brand as it is clear they can offer useful information on their website and social media accounts, which helps drive sales and brand awareness. (, 2018)

Draw on Cultural Knowledge

This is critical for building an icon. We must focus of today's culture/society and the tensions that evolve. We wanted to show how important immigration has become to Ireland's development and progression through our ad campaign.

Finally- The Ad Itself

Our group decided to focus on how people interact with advertisements rather than how advertising interacts with people due to the beliefs of practitioners and academics e.g. Lannon and Cooper 1983, Buttle 1991 etc. According to Avi Shankar, people have begun to do things with advertising overcoming the “advertising does things to people” era. (Shankar, 1999). We believe that the diversity between the old and the new in our advert allows people to enjoy the idea that Ireland and its most loved characteristics has become modernised and open-minded without losing its history or authenticity. Staying true to our roots is of great importance for the Irish population and we believe our ad fulfils this whilst allowing audience members to appreciate the changes our society has experienced since 1954 including the immigration and emigration age.

Ultimately the overall aim of advertising is placing a certain product or service within the mind of an audience member or potential consumer in the hopes they eventually bring about a change in a state of mind toward the purchasing of this specific product/service. (Abideen and Saleem 2011). I believe that our advertisement idea would do exactly this. It's hedonic meaning would create a rapport for a potential consumer, predominantly those of Irish descent, thus, resulting in the lasting memory of the ad, furthermore, the product – Tayto.  Our attempt to evolve the Tayto brand into hedonic goods grants consumers affective and sensory experiences that will ultimately result in consumption. (Hirschman and Holbrook 1982).

The obvious new rhetorical style used in our advertisement would lie between fictive and wholly visual. Clearly, with very little wording, our advert is certainly dominated by the image we have formulated. The overall work to capture the audience member's attention is succumbed to this image therefore wholly visual. However, we may also argue fictive style as we believe that our advert tells the story of Ireland and its journey into cultural diversity and changing of times. With very little text, the picture we have formed highlights how decades ago in Ireland, punters in a pub – usually the male population- enjoyed a bag of Tayto with their pint as viewed in the mirror hanging above the ‘Sláinte' sign. The story then jumps to this decade where not only do Irish men sit in a pub with a pint and a bag of crisps but women and men from all ethnicities. People returning from emigration or those immigrating to Ireland. It provides a sense of community and underlines the obvious social changes that have occurred in our society. We have utilized characters from an array of different cultural backgrounds in order to play on the consumer's emotions, perhaps evoking a sense of pride for Ireland when witnessing these people feeling involved and accepted in our society.


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