In what it claims is a marketing first, Rowse is launching a £3.5m TV campaign to find the best ad written, produced and starring its own staff.
The campaign will kick off on 7 February with an ad featuring trailers for six adverts one featuring a Captain Rowse superhero created by Rowse workers on a staff away day.
Consumers will be able to view the full-length versions on Rowse's Facebook page and vote for their favourite, which will be aired in a national TV campaign from April.
Kirstie Jamieson, marketing manager at Rowse, said it would be the first time an ad had been entirely created by workers and predicted the humorous tone would make consumers reappraise honey.
"We want Rowse to be better known, but on our terms," said Jamieson. "We didn't want to appear slick and polished, because the company isn't like that. At Rowse our staff are our biggest asset and can portray the passion and culture of the company better than any actors could, so asking them to represent the company in our new TV campaign was a natural step for the business."
The advertising would attract younger people to the category and make Manuka honey more "accessible" to consumers, she added.
The May launch of Rowse's more affordable Supahoneys (rsp: £3.99), which contain 50% Manuka, had already boosted sales 6.6% to £97m, MD David Bondi said.
However, the honey industry was still struggling to contend with multiple threats to the global bee population. "The plight of the honey bee and everything associated with that means that production of honey around the world, including the UK, has at best been static and at worst declining while demand has been going up worldwide."
Overall honey sales are up 8.1% in value to £92m but down 1.9% in volume [Kantar Worldpanel].