Green & Black’s came to Phipps in the late 1990s. The management team had just sold the New Covent Garden Soup Company (a Phipps client) and bought Green & Black’s, so overnight Phipps swapped soup for chocolate! For the next 14 years, Phipps worked as Green & Black’s retained PR agency, helping it grow from £2m to £50m.
During Phipps’ tenure, the challenge was to keep the brand fresh as it grew, acting as brand guardian as the business was sold to Cadbury’s and then Kraft (Mondelez).
The crux of the challenge lay in the interplay between the different sides of the brand, the green and the black. The ‘green’ of Green & Black’s is all about the sustainability and ethical trading and the ‘black’ is all about the dark taste and indulgent luxury. When Phipps started its journey, the brand was definitely more green than black: it was sold in health food shops, the packaging was basic and all the story-telling to date had been around ethical trading and organic.
With a new marketing director on board, the brand credentials were changed dramatically after a repackage, which allowed Green & Black’s to be repositioned as a mainstream luxury brand. From there, Phipps was able to develop the brand story; we began talking about taste and created partnerships with iconic retailers to help reposition Green & Black’s and build it into the household name that it is today.
Over the years, telling the story through features was at the heart of the campaign and the ‘green’ and ‘black’ dials were turned according to the media. We launched over 200 products and helped the company navigate the communications minefield of two major sales.
One year we developed a ‘chocolate’ board (like a cheese board but for chocolate) with Conran and another year we created a £30k Christmas advent calendar on sale in Harrods. The advent calendar was the UKs first ever hand carved advent calendar tree. Four foot tall and crafted with reclaimed burr elm with 24 draws filled with totally unique Green & Black’s chocolates, we placed it in the Harrod’s Christmas Chocolate Room with a price tag of £30k. The campaign won the coveted judges award at The Grocer Awards and is still talked about today.
I’m a huge believer in the power of PR and Phipps was our only retained marketing agency throughout my eight years at Green & Black’s. The team was tenacious in its approach to media and the campaigns that they delivered were smart and created cut through in a very crowded market. Phipps was a key part of our success and in every sense they acted as our brand guardians year after year. They were as passionate about Green & Black’s as we were!Mark Palmer, Marketing Director, Green & Black's
Using PR to build the UK’s most respected chocolate brand, one bite at a time
Over the course of 14 years, Phipps worked as Green & Black’s retained PR agency and brand guardians, helping it grow from £2m to £50m.