An enterprising approach to a marketing re-launch
A United Biscuits case study

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Page 3: Being enterprising

The Phileas Fogg brand was born in 1983 in the steelworks town of Consett in the North East of England. The steelworks was closing down, creating high levels of unemployment in the area. Four men installed a snack-making machine on the site. With this they created their exciting product lines. One of their acquaintances ('Jeff' used a former ice-cream van to sell the products to local shops and to passing customers.

That could have been the whole story, but it was only the start. Fired with enthusiasm from the success of the venture, these entrepreneurs saw the opportunity to exploit a gap in the market. In particular, they realised that they could capitalise on a potential niche market by catering for adult tastes that were not adequately met in the crisps market of the time. Their objective was to create a premium brand with the distinguishing qualities of authenticity, quality and excitement.

Very quickly the new business was able to gain a competitive advantage over rivals through:

  • its innovative name: Phileas Fogg - a fictitious explorer from Victorian times
  • attractive packaging, promotion and advertising
  • the novelty and range of its snacks.

Phileas Fogg was the first to develop tortilla snacks. Incredibly, it took seven years for a competitor to match this innovative product. Phileas Fogg gained a reputation for developing snacks based on foodstuffs and tastes from far flung corners of the globe. With its innovative approach to marketing, the company ensured that Consett, and in particular Medomsley Road, became as famous as the exotic locations that inspired its snacks.

The business has become increasingly adventurous in its quest to develop tasty, unconventional snacks. This approach has helped maintain its growth. Today it employs over 200 staff, including a team of discoverers, who research remoter parts of the world for the next taste bud tingling delight. Over the years, humorous award-winning advertising campaigns have developed the brand's reputation as the leading innovator within the adult premium snacks market.

United Biscuits | An enterprising approach to a marketing re-launch