Growing a brand through portfolio management
A Masterfoods case study

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Page 4: Revising the marketing mix


Masterfoods 4 Image 4The packaging of any fast moving consumer good (FMCG) brand is crucially important. All elements of the packaging needed to be redesigned for the launch. A distinctive new multifaceted jar was used which looked better on the supermarket shelf and felt better in the hand. The packaging was slightly different for each member of the product range - emphasising the characteristics of the particular product and ensuring it was aimed at its relevant target audience. For Dolmio Bolognese, for example, the emphasis was on the ingredients, providing reassurance of quality. Dolmio Pasta Al Forno focused on the end product, showing an image of the oven dish and the traditional family meal time. Dolmio Pasta Sauce portrays a couple enjoying a special meal together and Dolmio Stir-in depicts a contemporary Italian street scene.


An extensive promotional campaign was undertaken to support the relaunch using both above and below the line techniques. Above the line advertising, such as TV and radio advertisements, is when media time or space is purchased. Below the line advertising includes promotions or mail-shots. The strategy was to focus on developing the emotional relationship with consumers through ‘The Dolmio Passion for Italian Food’.

The campaign was to be through eighteen consumer press titles, both newspapers and magazines, covering a readership of 11 million people. This is an effective way of targeting a particular segment of the market. All eighteen ran special features which were a cross between advertising and education, providing recipes and cooking hints. These are sometimes called through the line activities. Sampling was another key element of the promotion strategy, aimed at getting as many consumers as possible to try the product in many specially selected venues in multiple grocery outlets and shopping centres. Over 920,000 samples were distributed with money-off coupons. Dolmio also launched its own Dolmio Roadshow, which travelled all over the country.

The television advertising campaign which accompanied the relaunch tried to create a strong sense of authenticity using visual style, characters and settings. The brand identity or personality is important in stimulating interest and curiosity. It makes the product different and elevates the brand’s status within the sector.


The Dolmio sauce range is stocked in all grocery retail outlets. During 1997, the number of Dolmio product lines increased, although there was little change in the competition. A major constraint for a FMCG is that the product’s exposure to the consumer is governed largely by the amount of space that the retailer makes available. Whilst the manufacturer would obviously like the retailer to increase the amount of space on the shelves for its products, it has no control over this.


Dolmio prices have increased slightly during 1997 to reflect the quality of ingredients in recipes. The growth in sales demonstrates that price, although important, is not the only influencing factor in the purchasing decision. Quality is also a determining factor.

Masterfoods | Growing a brand through portfolio management