Quorn see solid growth with TV-focussed strategy

  • Quorn wanted to grow their business beyond their existing loyal vegetarian buyers
  • They repositioned the brand from a meat substitute aimed at vegetarians to a protein rich healthy eating brand that caters for everyone
  • TV investment has grown by 50% since 2011 and the ROI continues to grow


Quorn is the brand leader in the meat free grocery category and in 2011, ranked at 35 among all UK grocery brands. 

Previous success had been built on a small group of loyal and mostly vegetarian buyers, but encouraging greater frequency among this loyal base was proving difficult.

Historically, Quorn’s TV investment had comprised of a burst in the first few weeks of the year to capitalise on people’s New Year’s resolutions to eat less meat. 

Faced with the problem of a small customer base, Quorn’s core marketing team, working with their agencies Initiative and Big, took inspiration from the work of the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute that encourages marketers to make smarter decisions in order to grow their brands.

For the past three years Quorn’s only objective has been one of growth, through mental availability (saliency, recency and stronger memory cues) and physical availability (distribution and in-store ‘find-ability’). 

In 2011, the challenge for Quorn was to drive greater saliency and also higher household penetration in order to drive sales.

The TV Solution

In 2011, Initiative noticed that there was an increase in Google searches for “protein” and also that these searches were not just confined to January. This prompted them to suggest a repositioning of the brand from a meat substitute aimed at vegetarians, to a mainstream healthy eating brand packed with protein and for everyone. Also, it meant that there was an opportunity to advertise outside of the core period of January.

In addition, analysis showed that Quorn sales were highly responsive to advertising and declined rapidly in periods without adverting. Moreover, they determined that TV was driving a higher ROI than any other media.

Therefore, the solution decided upon was to advertise on TV for as long as the budget would allow in order to keep the brand top of mind.

The plan 

In 2011, Initiative recommended a reduction in weekly weights in order to increase the campaign length.  They calculated that the optimum weekly weight should be 62 TVRs to optimise weekly coverage and not cumulative coverage over time.

This meant an additional eight weeks on air compared to the previous approach and made Quorn active on TV for 25 weeks of the year for the first time in its history. 

In 2012, they opted to reduce the ad length to 20 seconds as the 20 second ads were driving significantly greater ROI than the 30 second films. In addition, creative learnings showed that there needed to be a greater focus on great looking healthy meals (the end result) and that the call to action of ‘make one change’ was proving very powerful.

The approach generated growth and strong ROI and allowed Quorn to be on air for 27 weeks in total - despite working to a similar TV budget year on year. 

The strong ROI seen in 2012 allowed Quorn’s marketing team to build the business case to invest 26% more money into TV in 2013.

In 2013, Quorn was on air for 44 weeks of the year using an optimised mix of 20 and 10 second timelengths.  They also expanded their search activity to mop up the subsequent increase in brand saliency. People searching on a generic phrase such as ‘healthy chili recipe’ would see a relevant listing for the same dish using Quorn instead, driving an additional 6,000 new visitors a month to the Quorn website. 

In 2014, Quorn used double Olympic gold medal winner Mo Farah in their ads. Mo was used to target individuals who strive for healthier lifestyles through eating well and a little bit of exercise. This was the only creative used in 2014 with different products rotated into the end-frame.

Mo proved to be another breakthrough in Quorn’s brand growth, increasing the incremental volume attributable to advertising by 336,000kg. So, despite a further 18% increase in TV investment year-on-year, the ROI from TV remained exactly the same. 


  • TV investment has grown by 50% since 2011 and the ROI from every pound invested in TV continues to grow
  • In 2014, incremental volume attributable to TV advertising  increased by 336,000kg
  • In 2013, after increasing brand saliency through TV, improved search activity drove an additional 6,000 new visitors a month to the Quorn website
  • Campaign was shortlisted in the 2015 TV Planning Awards for Best Ongoing Use of TV


Initiative & Mediabrands Marketing Sciences have been instrumental in guiding our marketing strategy. Thought leadership has fuelled impressive brand growth.

Alex Glen Brand and Communications, Quorn


Sector: FMCG

Brand: Quorn

Campaign Objectives: To increase brand saliency in order to drive higher household penetration for the Quorn brand 

Budget: Approx. £3m in 2011, growing to approx. £4.5m in 2014

Campaign dates: Various campaigns across four years - 2011 to 2014 

TV Usage: A mixture of 30, 20 and 10 second spots

Creative Agency: Big 

Media  Agency: Initiative



Severn Trent: wonderful on tap

See how Severn Trent used ITV talent to inform customers about the importance of preserving water and to influence behaviour change


How taking an alternative path took Aldi from shame to pride

Learn how Aldi won an IPA Bronze Effectiveness Award by using humourous campaigns to turn their negatives into positives.


OLIO: what a wonderful waste

How a simple but haunting TV ad generated behaviour change and encouraged use to share rather than waste food