How The Collective utilised the power of a challenger mindset

Laura Jones, Strategy Partner at Joint lifts the lid on yoghurt brand The Collective’s challenger marketing strategy.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


How do you solve a problem like marketing a premium brand in the midst of a cost of living crisis? It is a challenge that yoghurt brand, The Collective, is tackling head-on in its new master brand campaign, created by Joint.

The four-week campaign will launch with out of home advertising. It will also run across digital and social platforms, including Facebook and Instagram (Meta), targeting a total of twelve million people nationwide. Creative executions highlight the brand’s fresh tone of voice; with an outdoor ad for the brand’s yoghurt pouches promising ‘a moment’s peace without hiding in the loo’. While an execution for the brands’ large ‘gourmet’ pots with a double layer of fruit compote urges consumers to ‘lock up their spoons’.

Tor Hunt-Taylor, Marketing Director at The Collective, explained: “At The Collective we disrupt and premiumise the yoghurt category by bringing together innovative flavours, packaging formats and product compositions. We’re all about challenging the norm with epic taste and exciting eating experiences.” 

She added: “Our 2023 masterbrand campaign will help drive awareness of The Collective and broaden our shopper base across our core range.”

To lift the lid on the strategy behind the campaign and the power of adopting a challenger mindset in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis, we spoke to Laura Jones, Strategy Partner at Joint.

Q: What is the challenge for a premium brand like The Collective in a cost of living crisis and how do you ensure cut through?

A: The ongoing cost of living crisis has meant that budgets have been tightened and lots of people are having to make trade offs when it comes to their weekly shop. Many consumers are trading down from premium brand products to mainstream and discount brands, as well as own label, in order to save money.

However, it’s not all bad news, as people will still spend on brands and products that give them a feeling of instant gratification and of treating themselves. This is called the lipstick effect, and while it was originally seen in lipstick sales in 2001, it has transcended across lots of other products including nail polish, boxed chocolates, sparkling wines and premium tonics etc.

An emotionally relevant campaign combined with great tasting products will almost always be a non-negotiable on people’s shopping lists.

Q: Does The Collective define itself as a challenger brand and what does challenger mindset mean today?

A: A challenger mindset is all about having a fresh perspective on how things are currently done and taking risks to make things better for everyone.

The Collective are doing exactly that. They are leading a taste revolution in a world of boring, bland gloop. We love their holistic approach to health and their innovative approach to flavours, product composition and packaging formats - did you know they were the first brand to put yoghurt in a pouch? 

They constantly strive to provide their customers with the best possible product, whilst also being a certified B corporation to help make the world a better place. I can think of no better challenger brand for today’s world.

Q: What are the challenges and opportunities in coming up with a creative that needs to work across different channels?

A: Consumers move seamlessly from channel to channel without a second thought, behaviour changing from one interaction to the next. From TV to Tik Tok, the best ideas flex to capitalise on the strengths of where they appear. Understanding these nuances is key to creating a competitive edge, whether you’re optimising for longer dwell OOH or grabbing people’s attention on social with a few seconds to catch people’s eye.

Our Collective campaign delivers a consistent and engaging brand message, whilst playing to the strengths of each channel. The creative is tailored to specific channel insights making it hyper-relevant to our audience at key moments throughout the day. This will help to drive brand awareness and saliency throughout the campaign.

Q: What are three things you’re proud of in this creative?

A: Our campaign's ability to adapt to various audiences, along with its standout tone and unique design, is a source of great pride for us.

Our challenge was to create a campaign that could effectively promote three different products, including two aimed specifically at children, across a range of channels and demographics. By using insights to inform our messaging and targeting strategies, we were able to effectively reach the right people with the right product at the right time.

One of our key focuses was establishing a clear brand personality and tone of voice. This was brought to life in our creative work and helped to set The Collective apart from other yoghurt brands that tend to focus on pseudo-science or ‘functional health.’ Our confident and playful design, featuring the cow head motif from our logo, is a nod to one of our strongest existing branded assets that we hope to continue to build on in the future.

It’s our hope that every execution will bring a smile to customers’ faces and help them remember and choose us when they shop.

What most excites you about The Collective brief and how did you come up with the creative for the campaign?

The Collective brief was clear and simple - this is all about epic tasting yoghurts.

We delved into the flavour profile of the product and used social listening to gather insights from real consumers on how people eat these yoghurts, how they talk about them, what they feel about them, and what role the product plays in their everyday lives.

Our research revealed that many consumers indulged in eating an entire pot by themselves without realising it because of the delicious taste. This insight inspired the creation of messaging such as "And when I came to, the whole thing was gone."

Consumer feedback also inspired a lot of the ‘suckies’ lines as parents admitted to sometimes hiding in the loo from their children, or using the yoghurts for a few minutes of peace and quiet.

It also helped that we had some Collective yoghurt superfans in the office. So, writing about how amazing it tasted actually came pretty naturally.

Q: How do you help brands keep on top of consumer trends and target the right audience?

A: Our team is always on the lookout for both macro and micro trends worldwide, spanning multiple industries. To stay up-to-date, we make it a point to attend events like SXSW annually, where we can learn about the most recent and innovative trends from industry leaders across the globe.

However, in a world where culture moves at lightning speed, the best way to keep up is to get amongst it. That means getting involved in events and activities that may be unfamiliar or even uncomfortable, and engaging with as many people as possible to gain real insights. At the end of the day, there's no substitute for experiencing trends firsthand and connecting with individuals who are shaping the cultural landscape.

Q: How did you make sure that The Collective’s messaging, personality and tone of voice came across in the 2023 masterbrand campaign?

A: It was crucial for us to infuse The Collective's unique personality into the messaging throughout the entire creative process. To accomplish this, we established a clear tone of voice that was bold, confident, and playful. Short, punchy headlines were used to capture consumers' attention and reflect the brand's identity.

We optimised the lines based on real responses and found that different lines made different people smile, so we included a range to appeal to different audiences.

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