GREAT BRITISH BRANDS: Branston - Posting Extraordinary Awareness Levels, This Staffordshire Pickle Is Found in One-Third of Households

Article excerpt

Branston Pickle still contains the same 23 ingredients as when it was first formulated by Mrs Graham and her two daughters, Evelyn and Ermentrude, in their kitchen at Branstone Lodge, Branston village, Staffordshire, during the early 1900s.

Evelyn was involved in biological research, which may explain why so many of those relatively exotic ingredients were to hand, including gherkins from India, dates from Iran and Pakistan, pearl onions from Holland, lemon juice from Sicily and rutabaga seeds from Canada.

The recipe was bought by Edmund Crosse and Thomas Blackwell, who had established a food business in 1829 and were awarded a Royal Appointment to Her Majesty the Queen in 1837. By the time they started producing Branston, Crosse & Blackwell boasted the largest and best-equipped food preserving plant in the British Empire.

During its 80-year history, Branston has built up a loyal following, and now sells 28 million jars a year. Branston, which claims a 71% share of a market worth pounds 24m (ACNielsen), can be found in one-in-three households and is enthusiastically endorsed by a range of celebrity fans, real and fictional.

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones never goes on tour without a supply of Branston and public support for the brand also comes from Jonathan Ross, Naomi Campbell, and Liam and Noel Gallagher of Oasis.

England's 2002 World Cup squad requested a crate of Branston at their training camp in Japan.

With the exception of Bridget Jones, who is famously partial to spooning her Branston straight from the jar, most people - 54% - prefer to eat their Branston with cheese. Two-thirds of all Branston sold ends up in cheese or ham sandwiches, although 30% of use is linked with cold meats and salads.

At 97%, Branston's extremely high-prompted awareness level (as estimated by Nestle) is the product of 80 years of consistent advertising. Early posters featured illustrations of a husband and wife that suggested 'You'll probably be the most popular girl in the world when you serve Crosse & Blackwell Branston Pickle, so start spoiling the man in your life by giving him Branston'.

Early advertising typically focused on women, who continue to be the predominant purchasers of Branston, though men are one-and-a-half times more likely to eat it.

The brand's most famous campaign, 'Bring out the Branston', did not appear until 1972. The line, which was meant to remind consumers about the jar lurking in the back of the cupboard, is still associated with the brand, despite having been scrapped in 1985. …