Developing Fruity Smarties with Redballoon

Research Award Winners demonstrate ROI for Client With NPD for Fruity Smarties

Redballoon, the child and youth research practice of Incepta Marketing Intelligence (now Illuminas) have scooped the prestigious prize of Best NPD Research at the Marketing Research Awards 2005.

Using a novel approach to understanding children, the research revealed deep insights that informed strategic decisions, resulting in a clear ROI for the client, Nestlé and their new product – Fruity Smarties.

As a result of the research Nestlé not only achieved a highly successful product launch, but incremental sales across all Smarties variants.

What the Judges said

“We were particularly impressed by the way the research produced usable insights at an early stage of product development and shaped the eventual positioning and communications platform, demonstrating how important consumer feedback can be in the development process”

What the Client said

Rachel Lewis, Marketing Planner within Nestlé’s confectionery division said, “Redballoon’sresearch and consultancy was excellent, and made a major contribution to the launch of Fruity Smarties. The Marketing team found the Activity Street approach both involving and rewarding and felt it brought them much closer to the consumer. The award was fully deserved”

Winning Combination

Nestlé wanted to revamp its Smarties confectionery brand to combat an outdated image. It had developed a range of Fruity Smarties and wished to ensure they were differentiated in the marketplace and would fit Smarties’ brand values

Research was required on the launch proposition, including packaging, positioning and size. Redballoon designed a study, using their ‘Activity Street’ methodology, to understand how the Smarties brand was perceived by mothers and children, and examined the optimum positioning and marketing mix.

The first phase of the research consisted of a two-day concept development laboratory, in which groups of children and their mothers were observed by the project team, which was looking for inspiration on positioning and packaging.

The second phase saw children of various ages invited to an Activity Street session, using workstations corresponding to different aspects of the marketing mix. The client team and agencies actively participated in these sessions to get a clear understanding of the children’s reactions, and mothers oversaw the process to ensure the propositions were suitable.

As a result of the research, Redballoon came up with the idea of differentiating the product by producing the Fruity Smarties in colours that did not match the flavours. This ‘seriously mixed-up’ approach fed into product formulation, communication and packaging.

A £3m media campaign and sampling drive in spring 2004 led to high levels of awareness and sampling, and succeeded in differentiating the product from rival fruit sweets. In addition, the launch helped raise sales across the Smarties brand, with sales of all variants rising.

Whilst developed for use initially with children, Activity Street has been used with teenagers and adults with equally successful results. Activity Street has a range of applications beyond NPD including Brand repositioning and Concept Evaluation.
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