Birds Eye claims its laconic polar bear has boosted consumer awareness of the quality of its frozen food and driven a sharp increase in sales.

Before the Willem Dafoe-voiced polar bear hit our screens, only 48% of the 2,000 frozen category buyers surveyed believed its Fish Fingers were made with 100% fish fillet and only 32% that its Chicken Dippers were 100% chicken breast, according to Birds Eye research [ICM Omnibus Survey; November 2009].

However, after the £9m campaign's first 10-week burst, which ended in July, these figures had risen to 78% and 76% respectively among consumers who had seen the ads.

The bear's straight-talking message has also translated into a significant sales uplift for the advertised products, notably Chicken Dippers, sales of which were up 9% over the 10-week period, according to Birds Eye.

The polar bear will return to TV and other media from next month for a second hit. But the campaign's three TV ads have already gained cult status online, attracting more than 125,000 hits on YouTube.

"It is gratifying those numbers have changed quite a bit as it was a bit of an indictment on the frozen food category," said Birds Eye UK marketing manager Ben Pearman, commenting on the marked improvement in consumer perception.

"We focused a lot this year on establishing the 100% campaign and our product credentials as we want the brand to mean something uncompromising and to show we don't tolerate trade-offs. As category leader it's critical we continue to champion the benefits of frozen food."

Frozen food companies have long battled to change consumer attitudes to the category and Birds Eye's cross-portfolio campaign set out to educate consumers about the benefits of frozen food under the strapline 'We're only content with 100%'.

The campaign emphasised the quality of ingredients used in Birds Eye Fish Fingers, Chicken Dippers and Garden Peas.