For decades, South Africans have made the Simonsberg range of cheeses their go-to choice of product for cooking, baking, or simply enjoying with some crackersaround a braai. The unmistakable label with the cows grazing in front of the old farmhouse has become a family favourite, synonymous with Stellenbosch and a symbol of local heritage and quality craftmanship.  In 2016, Parmalat made the bold move to re-brand one of South Africa’s most iconic and respected brands and replace it with a global favourite, Président.

The Challenge

The brief was to manage communications in consumer and trade media around the re-brand of iconic local favourite cheese brand, Simonsberg, to the global label of Président. Our job was to educate consumers on the brand change and to reassure them that it was merely a packaging change and that their favourite cheeses would still be made locally in the Cape and that the taste and quality of the products would remain exactly the same. The communications objectives had to ensure the success of the business objective - to seamlessly migrate Simonsberg to Président, without any loss in sales or consumer base.

The Idea

We realised that a media release alone would not be enough to drive home these key messages and that we would need to come up with a way to prove that the products have stayed exactly the same. What better way to do this than by encouraging consumers to try some new recipes, featuring each of the five cheeses, showcasing their unchanged taste and quality. Recipe cards featuring a fresh and delicious recipe would be a great way to get into the kitchens of consumers all across South Africa, enticing them to use the products and proving that the quality of the products has not faltered in any way.

The Solution

Partnering with King James, we conducted an integrated campaign which began with the design and production of 40 000 recipe cards which were distributed through various touch points. We partnered with Yuppiechef and sent packs of 5 recipe cards to 6 000 of their consumers as an accompaniment to their kitchen-related purchases. We then selected 20 of the top consumer/ food editors in South Africa and sent them each a personalised hamper, designed and packaged by Atmosphere, to get them talking about Président and to get them excited about using the recipes and products to create a new dish. We followed this up with an electronic media outreach and sent media releases, recipes and images to target media who did not receive a hamper. We ran a competition on CRUSH and gave away a hamper to the value of R1 500 to one lucky winner. We also ran a giveaway of five hampers in Fresh Living magazine, each valued at R1 500. Finally, we partnered with three top South African food bloggers, asking them to develop a recipe, write a blog post about the re-brand and post pictures and videos on their blog and across all of their social media channels.

The Results

We managed to achieve only positive or neutral responses to the re-brand in the media. We enjoyed coverage over a variety of print, online and broadcast media including Kyknet and RSG. The blogger partnerships delivered a combined social reach of 86 950. We surpassed the target media coverage value of R270K and achieved 5 680 536 media impressions. At the end of the day the client was thrilled and has scheduled to brief in a new project with Atmosphere for 2017.

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