31 (30) Birds Eye frozen fish
Sales: £171.6m (–0.6%)
Launched: 1949
Last year Birds Eye brought in a polar bear – voiced by Willem Dafoe – to dispel some myths about frozen food, and highlight that its fish fingers are made with 100% fish fillet. Keeping alive its rivalry with Young’s, Birds Eye revamped its Simply line at the end of 2010, including an on-pack claim that eight out of 10 consumers preferred its product to Young’s. Overall brand sales nevertheless slid, with volume dropping 4.8%.

32 (35) PG Tips
Sales: £167.4m (+9.3%)
Launched: 1930
Coffee continues to lure consumers away from tea: despite a 9.3% increase in value sales, PG Tips saw volume sales fall by 4.6% last year. But brand owner Unilever hasn’t been slow in trying to halt the decline. In November it stumped up £0.5m on a new ad campaign designed to increase usage occasions for tea, and early 2011 saw the return of ad stars Monkey and Al, emphasising the emotional benefits of drinking tea.

33 (33) Cravendale
Sales: £162.3m (+4.5%)
Launched: 1998
There’s a fine line between eccentric and weird. But whichever side you think Cravendale’s cow, pirate and cyclist ads fell, they appear to have won over shoppers, with sales rising 4.5% year-on-year. The brand’s next ad campaign, Thumb Cats, is definitely weird, being based on the idea of cats with opposable thumbs. Having increased shopper loyalty, Cravendale will now focus on bringing new shoppers in and increasing penetration.

34 (32) Bold
Sales: £158.6 (+1.7%)
Launched: 1972
Procter & Gamble paired Bold up with Lenor last summer when it revamped the Bold Infusions range to include ‘a touch of Lenor softness’. Infusions was also given a new look and shelf-ready packaging to make it stand out from other Bold products, while limited-edition fragrance Champagne Rose & Peony was added to the line-up. Despite such activity, and TV advertising, sales of the overall brand have risen only slightly.

35 (41) Pringles
Sales: £156.8m (+11.0%)
Launched: 1991
Pringles has jumped from 41st to 35th place off the back of an 11% hike in value sales, while volume sales have risen an equally impressive 9.1%.

The year was marked by high-profile marketing initiatives that kicked off with the Pringoooals promotion launched to coincide with the World Cup. The campaign introduced special packs featuring England striker and Pringoooals campaign ambassador Peter Crouch, and was backed by a multimillion pound investment and national media campaign.

Later in the year Pringles launched a limited-edition Sour Scream and Onion variant featuring spooky artwork, to tie in with Halloween celebrations – the UK’s most rapidly growing trading period, according to the brand. The can, which contained Pringles’ best-selling flavour Sour Cream and Onion, was available from September to the end of October.

Brand activity went a lot further than repacking existing flavours though, with two new lines – Hot Paprika & Smoky Bacon, and Spicy Sour Cream & Onion – added to its Xtreme range. Comic character Keith Lemon was brought in as Xtreme brand ambassador and featured in video clips on the Pringles Xtreme Facebook page. The new flavour variants went down a storm with consumers, according to Paul Lettice, head of communications at P&G.

“New flavours resulted in more than 650,000 incremental household purchases over the past 12 months, thus continuing to boost profitability for retailers and drive the overall crisps and snacks category,” he adds, promising “more news to look forward to” over the coming months.

Britain's 100 Biggest Brands 2011