Walkers is investing £27m in bagged snacks this year as part of its efforts to create a more natural image for the brand. The biggest-ever spend for the Walkers portfolio will also support the launch of a sub-brand called Farmers' Choice.
The activity forms part of the new 2008 Home Grown campaign - which encourages consumers to 'celebrate Britishness'- and includes TV and press ads, consumer promotions and sampling. It has been designed to reinforce the message that Walkers crisps are made from 100% British potatoes, a move the company took to demonstrate its commitment to quality and the British farming industry.
The time was now right to "make another step change to help consumers change the way they think about Walkers crisps", said Jon Goldstone, vice president of marketing for Walkers.
"As consumers' perceptions continue to change, we need to continue to evolve the Walkers brand," he said.
"Consumer attitudes to health and their perceptions of quality continue to shift and we must ensure that our products remain relevant to those changing needs."
The Home Grown initiative launches next week. It begins with the re-airing of last year's TV commercial, which featured Gary Lineker joining a group of farmers to celebrate the mud and rain that help to create the perfect growing conditions for the potatoes Walkers uses.
It is the first time Walkers has ever re-aired an ad, but the company said it had performed particularly well.
The TV advertising will be followed by the launch of the Farmers' Choice sub-brand under the standard Walkers crisps range. Available across the trade from next month, it will come in six-packs in three flavours, Roast Gammon, Sweet Cumberland Sausage and Ploughmans (rsp: £1.49).
"We want consumers to not only think about Walkers as a great tasting and fun snack, but also as a brand with warmth, true provenance, quality ingredients and, of course, inherent Britishness," said Goldstone.
Meanwhile, Walkers has also introduced two new
six-pack flavours: Mango Chilli and Bacon & Cheddar, to Walkers Baked.
The launch will benefit from a £3m spend earmarked for the better-for-you range this year.