Global highlight: McCain London

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McCain, the U.K.'s biggest frozen-french-fry brand, is battling to boost declining sales with a $35 million campaign celebrating the joy of chips.

To the tune of "Food, Glorious Food" from the musical "Oliver," a cast of 120 dancers, singers and acrobats sing "Chips, Glorious Chips" in a dazzling technicolor display.

But this is not just a TV commercial. Independent London ad agency Beattie McGuinness Bungay also plans to take the ad to live-theater audiences up and down the country. The agency has struck a deal to have the song performed at every pantomime in the U.K. this Christmas.

Pantomime is a popular form of traditional theater aimed at a family audience. Plots are based on traditional children's stories, such as Cinderella or Peter Pan, and the shows are characterized by audience participation in songs and comedy routines. McCain expects to reach 1.5 million people this way.

BMB Founder Trevor Beattie said in a statement, "The [pantomime] project is an absolute first. Having established our message via mass media, it enables us to talk directly to our comfortably seated audience and have them sing it straight back to us."

McCain will also use the pantomime setting to distribute promotional materials such as vouchers and prizes.

The song culminates with the refrain "5% fat" to get across its health message. A lavish backdrop of sunflowers emphasizes that the chips are made purely from potato and sunflower oil. "Chips are one of those products that have been demonized," said Simon Eyles, head of communications at McCain Foods Great Britain. "It's a serious issue and we want to make people understand what's in our food, but we're doing it with a twinkle in our eye."

McCain's sales fell by 8% in the year to April 2006, according to TNS Worldpanel.
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