Little Moons wants to be ‘inescapable’ to two target audiences

Little Moons wants to be ‘inescapable’ to two target audiences

The Media Plan

Mochi ice cream brand Little Moons has adopted an “impact over optimisation” approach to its media planning to create longer term brand impacts.

Through its “Ice cream from another world” platform, first launched two years ago with Mediahub and Lucky Generals, Little Moons has set out to communicate something familiar that you “know and love” (ice cream), with something “intriguing” and “mysterious” (a casing of flavoured chewy mochi dough).

Ross Farquhar, chief marketing officer at Little Moons, told The Media Leader: “Ice cream is a category that has been stuck; as long as you want your ice cream on a stick or in a tub, then you’re fine, but there is no other innovation happening.”

He explained: “Little Moons is this rapidly growing category disrupter that is investing heavily to build this bite-sized snacking category and frozen. But, at the same time, [we are] very conscious of the fact that we’re not going to be competing with the big boys in ice cream in terms of spend that are doing huge campaigns like the likes of Magnum every year.

“So if we just simply adopted the same tactics that they adopted, but spent a fraction of the amount, that probably wasn’t going to work. So we adopted this mantra very early on in the planning of impact over efficiency.”

The challenge for Farquhar was driving awareness. Ice cream has a penetration of about 90% of the UK population, but roughly speaking, only a third of premium ice cream shoppers would say they were aware of Little Moons.

The brand, which first launched in the UK in 2010 and is now stocked in all major supermarkets, has used different media channels to drive impact and awareness with two different audiences; the “bulk of the premium ice cream shoppers”, the older 30s- 40s audience that habitually spend more of their disposable income on groceries, contrasted with 18- 24s making Little Moons “a word of mouth hit” who typically make infrequent purchases in the premium ice cream category.

Initially the strategy started with a TV campaign in 2020 across multiple channels, to get “a foundational level of impact with the audience”, and now has “layered on top” of that a partnership with Channel 4, and also Luna Cinema, an interactive out-of-home activation and content on Instagram and TikTok.

Farquhar explained Little Moons ultimately needed to talk to both audiences and used TV and cinema to reach the former, and socials for the latter.

However, he saw the brand’s use of channels as “not completely separate things at all”, but integrated through its content showing behind-the-scenes footage from its Channel 4 partnership on TikTok.

He said they had to take some “educated punts” on where the brand could maximise its impact with its target audience, but to do that they would have to “sacrifice a bit of efficiency” and accept some activations would come off brilliantly, and others would be learning curves and not go quite as planned.

This strategy was much “more compelling and effective” than microtargeting which the brand had tried previously around messages that it was bite-sized, portion controlled, calorie controlled, and brightly coloured, and has led to Little Moons becoming, in Farquhar’s words, “the slowest burn overnight success”.

Little Moons’ partnership with Channel 4 featured Derry Girls‘ star Saoirse-Monica Jackson (pictured, main image, above and below) in a TV spot which ran nationwide across the month of July. It played on the idea that Little Moons are hard to describe to someone that has never had them before.

Advertising was also centred around the summer peak, being an ice cream brand, and Little Moons partnered with outdoor cinema chain Luna Cinema partnership through Pearl & Dean and its experiential agency DIVE.

Glowing inflatable mochi ice cream balls (pictured, below) were installed at 50 of The Luna Cinema’s UK locations during its open-air cinema season over the summer, along with a gold spot in the ad-reel of all film screenings and an exclusive range of flavours on the outdoor cinema menu.

Yasemin Worrall, chief client officer at Mediahub UK, added: “We could have gone down the route of efficient TV buying or reach buying or just cinema but we really wanted to bring to life the brand voice and enhance that cinema experience for longer brand impact.”

Farquhar agreed. “If we were staying true to our impact over optimization and practical efficiency mantra, we needed to do something that would make Little Moons inescapable in certain environments, so that people who do encounter it would have an exceptional experience with the brand. That’s where Luna fitted in very well because it was an opportunity for us to get it to the right kind of people, the audience that we were talking to, but not just serve them ads, but fundamentally blanket them with opportunities to see Little Moons.”

Sampling has also featured prominently in the strategy with Little Moons giving away 20,000 mochi ice cream balls in one day in June through one stunt billboard in Whitfield Gardens, Tottenham Court Road (pictured, below).

Looking forward, Farquhar said he does not think any food manufacturer is not concerned about the worsening cost-of-living crisis, and is not underestimating the cost of Little Moons for a consumer, but remembered when he previously worked at Cadbury how the category did better than expected in the recession because of “a lipstick effect”.

People feel more able to spend on small luxuries to keep spirits up, rather than big ticket items, which he feels could apply to Little Moons in future, bringing people “little lifts”.

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