Kerrygold clear winner by taking brand worldwide
nua (formerly the Irish Dairy Board), an Irish company controlled by Irish co-ops which in turn are controlled by Irish farmers. You really don’t get more Irish than this.
In fact, the success of the Kerrygold brand was not lost on the marketing team behind Bailey’s several years later when they sought to create something uniquely Irish themselves, a point that was raised by former South African adman David Gluckman in his recent book, That Sh*t Will Never Sell. Gluckman was one of two London-based admen who came up with the original idea for Bailey’s back in 1973.
But 10 years earlier, he was also on the creative team in the London office of Benton & Bowles, a New York-headquartered ad agency, which actually came up with the original Kerrygold brand identity including its iconic gold foil wrapping and the images of lush Kerry pastures and happy cows grazing. Needless to say, this is an inconvenient truth that is often airbrushed out of much of the subsequent folklore that enveloped the brand after it became an international success.
Benton & Bowles got in on the act after An Bord Bainne, which was then headed up by a bright, young and ambitious Tony O’reilly, came up with the idea to try and flog Irish butter overseas. It was a tall order as butter is essentially a commodity product. But with the right marketing, advertising and branding, nearly everything is possible and after 60 agencies in Ireland and the UK pitched for the business, Benton & Bowles came up trumps and set about launching it on the UK market in 1962.
The rest is history. While the brand was launched on international markets in 1964, it never made it on to Irish dairy cabinets until 1973, 11 years after it started to take off in places like the UK, Malta, Cyprus, the Canary Islands and the Caribbean. The same year it was launched in most other European countries including Germany where it is now the leading brand of butter among Germans.
Now, some 55 years later, Ornua’s plans for the brand would appear to know no bounds. Last year, sales of Kerrygold-branded products broke the €900m barrier and are well on their way to hitting €1bn by the end of the decade. Apart from its range of spreadable, firm and flavoured butters, there’s Kerrygold yoghurt, which was launched in Germany last year, a Kerrygold cheese and, yes, somewhat ironically, a Kerrygold cream liqueur which, apparently, is big in the USA.
And who knows, maybe somewhere outside Chantilly, the equine capital of France, there’s a young ginger haired lad, sporting a Tipp jersey, munching happily on a petit pain with jambon de Bayonne and a thick slathering of Kerrygold?