produced for the Meat and Livestock Commission by The Grocer How very convenient ­ second ad phase for Tim Nice But Dim The highly successful Tim Nice But Dim promotional campaign is currently seeing its second wave of activity. TV advertising is on air until March 4, supported by a promotional drive within the multiples and independent retailers. An amount of £2.3m has so far been spent on the marketing drive, which started in August 2000. The current £750,000 campaign will bring the total spend since launch to £3m. Phil Toms, product manager for beef and lamb at the MLC said: "The advertising at the end of last year proved hugely successful for beef and lamb sales, and we expect to build on this with the current activity." According to Taylor Nelson Sofres data, sales of beef were up 8.1% in volume during the promotional activity, run between August and October 2000 compared to the same period in 1999. Mince beef was a strong focus of the campaign and saw volume increase by 11.8%. Lamb, too, saw success, with volume up 5.8% compared to August-October 1999, and frying/grilling lamb products such as steaks and chops featured in the TV advertisement rose 10.6% in volume. The campaign primarily targets 18-35 year olds, but also aims to draw in all consumers looking for convenient meal solutions. Tim Nice But Dim, played by Harry Enfield, is seen as a typically British character who promotes the ease of preparation of beef and lamb. The underlying theme is that if Tim can prepare convenient meals, anybody can. Toms explained the thinking behind the campaign: "Our work is very much consumer driven. Over the past few years we have carried out research into eating trends and have found that the need for convenient meal preparation is paramount to consumers, especially during the week when time is short. "Our message has concentrated on three areas ­ speed, ease and versatility. We are therefore promoting midweek meals that should take no more than 30 minutes cooking time. "They have to be suitable for all tastes and have the minimum of hassle, while weekend meal suggestions focus on relaxed eating occasions." According to Toms, 70% of all lamb consumed is by people of 45 years and older. "This gives us a vast opportunity to capitalise on," said Toms. "We have to make the product more appealing and available to younger consumers as well." While beef and lamb were the centre of attention during the last campaign, the current activity will focus on beef. Three advertisements will be aired, of 10 to 20 seconds in length. But the campaign is not just about TV advertising. Strong promotional activity is also being carried out instore. A national promotion is running with many of the major multiple retailers. These outlets will be carrying half priced packs of mince with a product link up with jarred pasta sauces. Consumers are given a quick and easy recipe combining the two products, which can be served with pitta bread. Toms said: "We are working with third party brands to develop promotions that provide different ideas and convenience for the consumer." Independent butchers are also a vital part of the promotional drive. An estimated 25% of lamb and 17% of beef sales are currently sold through independent butchers. These retailers, along with those multiples not carrying the pasta sauce promotion, will be provided with additional point of sale material, stickers and free recipe leaflets which communicate the advertising message. Toms added: "We have a powerful tool with Tim Nice But Dim and will be using him to put the message across to consumers about how convenient beef and lamb cookery can be. "We have contracted Harry Enfield for three years and intend to make Tim our brand spokesperson and the face of beef and lamb." {{MLC }}