In what must go down as one of the most unlikely campaigns in advertising history, Dairy Crest has recruited former Sex Pistols frontman John Lydon to be the new face of relaunched Country Life. From October 1, Lydon, aka Johnny Rotten, will front a new TV ad, in which he gallivants around the country asking himself why he likes the butter so much. 

The ads, which represent Lydon’s first-ever commercial TV appearance, feature the strapline “It’s not about Great Britain, it’s about Great Butter” and emphasise the product’s taste and British provenance. Running in two blocks over the last three months of the year, the campaign is part of a £5m brand relaunch that will include a redesigned pack featuring a new British oak tree graphic, although the traditional gold packaging will continue to be used.

Dairy Crest decided to revamp the brand despite strong sales figures over the last year, in which it was the fastest growing butter brand in both volume and value, according to marketing director Paul Fraser. The push would drive brand awareness and improve household penetration, he said. Country Life is worth £57m on the back of 32% value and 15% volume growth over the past 12 months [Nielsen, 52 w/e 6 September]. Growth has been particularly good in the latest quarter, with a 57% volume and 61% value increase in the 12 weeks to 6 September.

“This campaign taps into current trends and leverages our strong British provenance credentials, which we know consumers find hugely compelling when making their butter brand choice,” said Fraser. “We’re confident this major investment and a very different approach to butter advertising will accelerate further brand growth.”

Lydon re-emerged on the celebrity circuit in 2004, when he walked out of ITV’s “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here”. The TV campaign will be backed by a website and PR programme.