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McVite’s reaffirms its place in British culture with new campaign

The new campaign from TBWA\London stars British icon Sir Trevor McDonald

Jeevan Georgina Hammond

Editorial Assistant Creativebrief


McVite’s latest campaign positions the biscuit brand as part of the fabric of British culture, by showcasing the country’s ‘True Originals’. 

Using humour, the campaign forefronts the value of being original, culminating in the very British appearance of Sir Trevor McDonald.

The hero video for the campaign was created with the help of TBWA\London. In it, McVite’s proclaims its biscuits as the ‘True Originals’, showing a range of copycats that comedically fall short. The campaign is part of a new masterbrand platform that aims to reaffirm McVite’s position as a market leader and an undeniable part of British culture.

As producer of some of the country’s most-loved biscuits, like Chocolate Digestives, Rich Teas, and Hob Nobs, McVite’s boasts a range of originals. With copycats lining supermarket shelves, the brand set out to stand out, by highlighting what it does best. 

Aslı Özen Turhan, Chief Marketing Officer at the brand’s parent company Pladis UK and Ireland, explained that: “McVitie’s is often copied – but never equalled – and our campaign will reinforce that in the nation’s psyche”. 

The hero films sees McVite’s take audiences through a range of witty imitations of its famous biscuit that aren’t quite as good as the originals. Declaring that “there can only be one”, viewers see a group of Elvis Presley impersonators, then a goat in an Argentina football shirt - alluding to the GOAT (greatest of all time) player, Lionel Messi.

There is also a hedgehog slowly walking into a line of coins without the flare of Sonic, and a woman building a brick wall in a field which is “nice”, but not quite “great” like the one in China. Cut to a man sitting on a chair stroking a fluffy cat that leaps out of his arms - an issue Dr. Evil didn’t have to contend with. Finishing the sequence is a newly appointed godparent looking worried when passed his godchild; “clearly, there’s only one Godfather”.

The video ends with a fake Trevor McDonald announcing that: ‘there is only one biscuit for your biscuit break, the true original, and one person to tell you about it, me, Trevor McDonald.’ A claim that the real Sir Trevor McDonald quickly usurps. Sitting behind a news desk for the first time in 15 years, Sir Trevor’s appearance is a symbol of the importance of being a true original.

Sir Trevor’s involvement reflects the cultural significance and core Britishness of the McVite’s brand. As a long-standing figure on the nation’s TVs, the much-loved news presenter has an icon status much like McVite’s. As Paul Jordan, Executive Creative Director at TBWA\London, said, “What better True Original than Sir Trevor McDonald to launch the [campaign]?”.

In keeping with the British overtones, the film’s soundtrack was created by Little Simz, a British rapper and winner of a Brit Award, Mercury Prize and a MOBO Award. The film was directed by Sam Pilling of Pulse Films, who chose to shoot entirely on film and in a 4:3 aspect ratio, producing a timeless style.

Initially broadcast across TV, Cinema and online video, the campaign launched on the 4th of October. After the 11th of November, it will be supported by social media and shopper marketing. Media was handled by MG OMD. 

A range of activations are set to follow the campaign in the coming months and years. This is part of McVite’s journey towards making the True Original concept a solid part of British culture. It marks the brand’s desire to solidify its position in the heart of the nation, just like Sir Trevor McDonald.

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