Why Dolmio is right to leave behind the puppet family and shake up its advertising

Stephan Shakespeare
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The Dolmio family has been in its ads for more than a decade (Source: Dolmio)

As Dolmio moves away from its long-standing puppet characters for its new advert, YouGov brand tracking data underlines why it may be a good time for the pasta sauce brand to freshen up its campaigns.

The Italian puppet family was a mainstay of the label’s advertising for 15 years. However, Dolmio’s new advert now stars actor Dominic West playing a melodramatic dad who is too deeply involved in his son’s video game and who only returns to reality to enjoy a plate of spaghetti bolognese with his family.

While it can be a risk for brands to move away from characters that consumers have connected with over a period of time, YouGov BrandIndex data suggests that the Dolmio puppets may have been losing their impact.

Read more: Dolmio and Uncle Ben's should only be eaten "occasionally"

Dolmio’s ad awareness score (whether someone has seen an advert for the brand in the past two weeks), has grown considerably at different moments over the past three years. However, each time its score peaked it was at a lower level than the time before (19 per cent in 2014, 17 per cent in 2015 and 16 per cent in 2016).

Read more: Dough Bother: Here are the best new pizzerias in London

One positive for the brand is that YouGov profiles data shows that 29 per cent of its customers enjoy adverts featuring their favourite celebrities (compared to 25 per cent of the public).

Dolmio has also had to work to shrug-off bad press that it experienced in April of last year, when it admitted that the public should consumer some its sauces ‘occasionally’ due their content.

At that time, its buzz score (whether someone has heard something positive or negative about the brand in the last fortnight) declined by seven points.

The story also impacted on its quality score, which fell from 16 to a low point of eight. It has yet to recover fully, showing a current score of 11. What’s more, its value for money score also fell (from seven to one), before settling at three.

This campaign gives Dolmio an opportunity for a mini-reinvention, helping to break free from past struggles and present itself to consumers in a different way.

See Dolmio's Dominic West ad here:

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