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Mascots, jingles and even more pink - why Moonpig has gone back to basics

It started with a jingle and a mascot: why Moonpig is going back to the basics of branding

Realizing that mascots and jingles make really good shorthand, Moonpig has been going back to basics with its branding. Following the arrival of its snuffly ’moon piglets’, its marketing chief talks The Drum through the brand refresh.

“When I said I was joining Moonpig, people used to sing the jingle at me,” recalls Kristof Fahy, the greetings card brand’s chief marketing officer who joined in 2019. “Why did we ever get rid of it?”, he wonders.

One of the original DTC brands, ’Moonpig.com’ as it is better known to anyone who has ever heard the jingle, arrived at the millennium and became instantly recognizable with its pink space-pig logo. Even today there are few who can resist singing the refrain when they come across its name, with the brand enjoying the kind of rent-free living in the minds of consumers that others can only dream of.

“Mascots and jingles are really good shorthand,” Fahy says. “They have a clear emotional core, which is brilliant, but you also don’t want them slapped on everything in case you overkill. There’s a fine balance.”

While it got off to a great start, somewhere along the line Moonpig lost its way. Wary of becoming too ‘gimmicky’, in 2017 it bid adieu to its pig mascot and his strange side smile, and ditched that catchy jingle.

“Internal marketing teams can get bored of their key things because they see them every day. But the customers don’t and what the brand got bored of was actually what made it great. So we’re not repositioning, we’re refreshing.”

Having brought the jingle back, Fahy says he was met by “whooping and clapping” at an internal business meeting. Next up was the brand color. “We hadn’t used it properly, so I asked ’can we make things pinker?’”

This train of thought struck Fahy after ordering his son a Moonpig t-shirt. “It arrived with the old logo on the back, which left me thinking about why it was ever removed. It’s the namesake. It goes back to the basics of branding – the logo, the jingle, the color branding is all there. We had all the bits there but weren’t using them any more.”

Sure of what he wanted, Fahy then approached Creature to work on the refresh, knowing the team there from his time at William Hill.

“Creature is willing to bring a lot of ideas, which I really like. They bring 20 ideas to the table and say, ’some of these we love, some of them you might love and we’re quite happy to work with’. So it’s very collaborative.

“They have a beautiful combination of what you want from an agency – annoyingly smart planning, really good creative execution... and they are just such nice genuine human beings. That makes a massive difference.”

Once they decided to bring the pig back, thoughts turned to what form it would take – would it be CGI, a puppet, a real live pig? “We had some interesting conversations that I never thought I would have. We went on this process where one day it was a lovely pig and then it came back and it was a little bit scary, then they just got it bang on. It’s been up and down in a good way, which is all part of the creative process.”

Fahy wanted the new mascot to embody the emotion of the brand, “like a warm cuddle“. And it appears to have been a hit: “We’ve already had emails asking ‘where can I buy one?‘”

As well as going back to its roots, the refresh is also part of its future. “We want to be people’s gifting companion – a one-stop-shop for all your card and gifting needs. That is literally what the business is focused on.”

Already, because of lockdown, its business has grown exponentially as it benefits from online spending. After recording the strongest week of sales in its history in the run-up to Valentine’s Day, in February it announced it was on track to double its annual revenues. “The piglets are part of that process,“ he tells us, adding that we can expect to see them in a number of other campaigns set to roll out soon. “The journey has only just started.”