Cravendale sales get the thumbs up

  • Get mums to buy into the premium Cravendale brand
  • Use emotional rather than rational TV creative work to standout and entertain
  • Campaign generated a sales uplift of 8%


Cravendale is a premium milk brand that is specially filtered to stay fresher for longer. In a commoditised and declining market, Cravendale can sometimes be double the cost of standard fresh milk.

Since its launch Cravendale has made the nation feel more passionate about milk and to think about milk as more than just something they have in tea or coffee. The animated Cow, Pirate and Cyclist series of commercials shifted people’s attitudes towards milk by talking about the rational benefits of Cravendale. However these attitudinal shifts in brand positivity and brand love had not converted to purchase consideration and trial.

Mums with young families are the biggest consumers of milk and through consumer insight work Carat found that they shop the aisle on autopilot, heading straight for the green, red or blue lids with little time to stop and browse brands.

A significant step change in communication was required to jolt people from their ‘milk apathy’.  Cravendale needed to standout and entertain on an emotional level rather than a rational one. The task was to raise the bar on purchase consideration and trial metrics through memorable communication that connected with the audience.

The Solution

The solution to combat apathy and habitual purchase behaviour was to deliver an unmissable communication plan. High profile, heavyweight TV was the ideal choice to deliver the impact, scale and ROI required.

The Thumbcats campaign, created by W&K, tapped into the nation’s love of a quirky cat film, imagining a world where cats have evolved to have opposable thumbs. VoD, online and social were planned to complement the standout TV strategy by delivering discreet coverage and deeper audience interaction. This cat loving audience would be encouraged to share their own cat stories with their friends and Cravendale. 

In order to maximise the work’s cultural stickiness and media efficiency, an unbranded ad was seeded to create buzz and anticipation online. As audiences began to make the connection with Cravendale, the heavyweight TV campaign kicked in to accelerate impact and scale. 

The campaign ran with 40”initially (dropping to 10” afterwards) and featured in ‘must see’ peak programming across the schedule. In addition, spots were targeted towards a dual screening audience who would be more likely to use social media channels whilst watching television.

To deepen the relationship with the audience, Bertrum cat became the figurehead of the campaign and was given his own social media channels. And VoD activity encouraged interaction with a bespoke end frame that took audiences directly though to Cravendale owned sites to follow even more feline action.


  • Awareness uplift of 10%
  • Sales uplift of 8%
  • 2.9m YouTube views of the commercial
  • 50,000+ Facebook likes
  • 6,000+ Twitter followers
  • Voted best TV commercial of 2011 by the public

We're over the moon with the response to our Cats with Thumbs campaign, it proves that with the right media mix that is current and relevant you can really create scale and effectiveness

Sam Dolan, Cravendale Senior Brand Manager


Sector: FMCG

Brand: Cravendale

Campaign objectives: Change behaviour, accelerate sales

Target Audience: HW+CH

Budget: £500k - £1m

TV Usage: 40” and 10”

Creative Agency: W&K

Media Agency:  Carat

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