Unlocking Quorn's potential through TV

David Grainger
David Grainger (former) Head of Strategy


Quorn is the brand leader in the meat-free food category, with almost 80% of sales coming from their extremely loyal vegetarian customer base. Quorn is already a top-40 UK food brand. But there is huge long-term growth potential if Quorn can increase household penetration from 20%.

Our challenge was to widen appeal by repositioning Quorn as a ‘mainstream healthy eating’ brand.

Prior to 2011, Quorn had received no advertising support for 18 months, and the detrimental effect on the brand was clear: awareness had dipped, saliency declined and sales had fallen. In early 2011, having interrogated the media pitch brief, we quickly initiated a major econometrics-led measurement of incremental sales. Our econometric analysis proved that the Quorn brand was very responsive to advertising, with TV being at the heart of the media mix.


Our aim was to exploit the brand’s responsiveness to advertising and move from a burst-based strategy (which the model told us was inefficient) to an ‘always-on’, econometric-led approach, optimising TV airtime and delivery. The aim was to maximise weekly reach, and therefore Quorn’s ability to influence sales over time. Our ‘consistent presence’ approach would also start to help ‘normalisation’ ie: enabling consumers to become more familiar with Quorn’s new positioning.


Using our market-mix modelling capabilities and our bespoke media planning tools, we optimised the TV laydown to deliver maximum efficiency, which in our first year resulted in six weeks more air time. Through robust quarterly analysis we had clear answers on optimal weekly weights, most efficient spot lengths, retention rates and weekly response curves to help capture diminishing returns from media.

  • Total Quorn sales volume rose by 15% in 12 months, compared to 4.4% growth for UK category food average.
  • Quorn was actually responsible for all meat-free category growth in 2013, as remaining category sales fell  5% yoy
  • Quorn’s advertising ROI is more than twice that of other FMCG benchmarks

The latest Mo Farah advert has been the most successful campaign for Quorn where all the econometric findings have been put to best use:

  • TV’s effectiveness rose 19% based on sales uplift per TV rating bought
  • Advertising profit ROI (ratio) grew by more than 24%
  • This is all the more impressive given advertising investment had increased significantly - which should have resulted in an ROI (efficiency ratio) decline according to our model forecasting

We also successfully helped redefine Quorn’s view of what ROI success looks like for their business overall.

Alex Glen, Brand and Communications Controller at Quorn Foods says:

“Initiative and Mediabrands Marketing Sciences have been instrumental in guiding the Quorn marketing strategy, driving insightful learnings about how to increase return on investment, while encouraging a ‘test and learn’ approach to drive continuous econometrics based learnings to fuel brand growth.”


Our work for Quorn has been shortlisted for Best Ongoing Use of TV, Thinkbox TV Planning Awards 2015. We were also shortlisted at the Thinkbox TV Planning Awards in 2013 for the same category.