How SPC customers saved the brand

SPC social media campaign

When the federal government refused to inject $25 million of taxpayer’s money into SPC Ardmona, many felt this was the beginning of the end for this iconic Australian brand.

But following a groundswell of support from customers through a social media sales are up and the Victorian government has come to the country’s rescue.

SPC brand aussie made

After the federal government refused to invest in SPC, many thought the brand’s fate was doomed. However, despite the federal government trying to tell us that SPC’s parent company Coca Cola Amatil is a rich multinational who doesn’t need taxpayer funds, there has been a massive grass roots campaign of support to save the brand.

With Local Liberal MP, SharmanStone, has be fighting for government support. Many of the workers have even been touring the country trying to garner support. But what is more impressive is how proactive and passionate SPC’s customers have been (even if it was at the eleventh hour).

During the past few weeks, SPC has been one of the most discussed topics on talkback radio across the country, with a keenness from most people to do something to keep the brand alive.

Then, Newcastle mum Linda Drummond, inspired a massive social media campaign to save the SPC brand. It all started with a simple tweet and within days millions of social media users including celebrities and politicians were helping to boost sales for the company.

The campaign was simple and clever. Linda connected the brand with a classic Aussie pastime of peaches and ice-cream and then created an event to drive sales. SPC Sunday was born and it’s already become a massive success.

SPC fight to save brand

“We thought, we need as many people as possible buying (SPC products) to make a real impact. So I just sent out a tweet saying ‘Hey guys, let’s have SPC Sunday and have peaches and ice cream for dessert’ and it just snowballed immediately, it immediately hit a nerve and people realised it was something they could do that could make a difference,” Linda told ABC Goulburn Murray’s morning program presenter Joseph Thomsen.

Photos of people whipping up creative fruit desserts were posted to social media. Others shared photos of empty supermarket shelves where SPC products had sold out. Celebrities including Wiggles performer Anthony Field, comedian Meshel Laurie and Victorian Premier Denis Napthine joined the #SPCsunday movement.

Australian patriotism was cleverly tapped into the campaign. “We’re a proud nation. We create things, we grow things, we manufacture things, we build things. We need to get behind that and the most basic thing we can do as a consumer is buy the Australian product,” Linda said.

Why did this work, when other campaigns from workers and the company weren’t?

The urgency of the situation certainly played a part. But it was the authenticity of this campaign being started by a customer, not the company, that made the difference. This should provide a social media lesson for many brands.

SPC also released some promotional support and a clever tactical ad to help fuel the campaign along. But they kept the customer at the centre of the brand, simply saying ‘thank you’.

Managing director Peter Kelly said sales over the past week had increased by “more than 50 per cent”.

And then came the result the company needed. Late last week, SPC secured $25 million from the Victorian state government. This may not of happened without the strong customer support and social campaign.

If you’re a brand manager, you might want to consider what are you’re doing to keep your customers loyal, engaged and ready to fight for your brand.

Michael Hughes
Strategy Director and Partner.


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