The repositioning of Hobnobs
A United Biscuits case study

Page 1: Introduction

United Biscuits (UB) is an international foods business operating in 24 countries. The company manufactures, markets and distributes biscuits, savoury snacks and frozen and chilled foods, has leading market positions in the UK and Continental Europe and is building its presence in Asia. UB has 46 manufacturing sites world-wide and its products are available in over 90 countries.UB's brands include...
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Page 2: The importance of finding the right position in the market

This case study examines the way in which McVitie's has recently repositioned Hobnobs to target them at a younger audience of 18-34 year olds, as well as maintaining its established audience of consumers who like to treat themselves to high quality biscuits.While reading the study, students should try to think of ways in which Hobnobs can best be promoted and advertised to catch the attention of...
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Page 4: An overview of the biscuit market

The biscuit market can be divided into a number of sectors. These are:Everyday Biscuits - the reasonable quality and price of these biscuits mean they can be consumed every day, e.g. Digestive, Rich Tea, Ginger Nuts, Hobnobs original.Everyday Treats - still considered within a price range that they can be consumed every day. These are slightly more indulgent products than Everyday Biscuits, e.g...
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Page 5: Hobnobs

In recent times, Hobnobs have been repositioned in terms of marketing focus so that they can be more effectively targeted at a buying audience of 18-34 year olds.Hobnob variants compete in two main sectors of the biscuit market:Hobnobs Original falls under the sector Everyday Biscuits.Hobnobs (milk and plain chocolate) fall under the sector Everyday Treats.Additionally, there are a number of brand...
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Page 6: Launched in the late 1980s

Once consumers become familiar with particular brands, they often begin to believe that they have been in the shops for a lot longer than they actually have. It is difficult to believe that Hobnobs have only been with us for just over a decade. Hobnobs (original) were launched in 1986, closely followed by the two chocolate Hobnob variants in 1988.Following the highly successful launch of the...
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Page 7: Why reposition a brand?

The market-place is dynamic - it changes continually. Skilful marketing involves being aware of the changes that are taking place and making sure that your brand is best positioned to benefit from opportunities.Originally, Hobnobs were positioned to take advantage of their 'homebaked taste' where the appeal of the biscuit was its oaty, crumbly, wholesomeness. This approach to marketing Hobnobs...
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Page 8: Building a new marketing strategy

The new marketing strategy for Hobnobs is to target young adults in the 18-34 age range with a fun, sociable, humorous brand relevant to their lifestyle (i.e. one which involves the enjoyment of life, on the move). The brand's purpose is to bring more interest, fun and entertainment to the biscuit market and to provide a relevant offering for younger adults, who make up the post-teenage and...
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Page 9: Relaunching in 1997

The challenge facing Hobnobs in relaunching the brand was to target young consumers (18-34 year olds). This was not an easy task because this group of consumers does not have static lifestyles, rather they are people who are out on the move.The promotional mix of advertising, media selection and sampling had to be suited to this type of consumer. Issues that needed consideration included: Where...
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Page 10: Hobnobs on the up …

There can be no doubt that Hobnobs are perceived by consumers as being a lively and interesting brand with a distinctive image. McVitie's therefore needs to build on the strength of the brand and make sure that the right sort of messages about the product are reaching a target audience of young adults with a sense of fun.In creating an effective marketing strategy, marketers working for...
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Page 11: Hobnob trials

McVitie's recognises that it is essential to generate trial as a tool to re-introduce the brand to many lapsed users. The best way of making sure that customers buy your product is to acquaint them with the product. With so many biscuits on sale in retail outlets, it is likely that a large number of potential customers have never actually tried all the Hobnob variants. This is particularly...
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Page 12: Conclusion

This case study has outlined the way in which McVitie's set out to relaunch a premium brand, Hobnobs, to appeal to a younger target audience. The tasks and activities encourage you to consider effective ways of re-orienting marketing activities to appeal to this target audience.
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Related: United Biscuits
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