Case Studies | William Murray


Dishing up advice
on gluten-free

A thought-leadership campaign that stole share from the market leader, Bisto.

For Knorr, market conditions were tough. At the beginning of 2015, it held just 19% gravy market share for caterers, compared to Bisto’s 42%. But when law changes meant chefs had to get to grips with allergen labelling on menus, opportunity called.

Using a bold mix of tactics, our campaign made gluten-free simple for chefs, smashed every KPI and delivered commercially for our client – growing KNORR market share by 5.7%.

Santa Maria

Maria’s in

A bold, creative social media campaign to get chefs to care as much about their spices as they do about their meat, fish, fruit & veg.

Our job was to drive chefs to the new Santa Maria web shop we’d help set up. We knew once they got a taste of Maria, they’d never want anything else… But first, we had to get chefs to care as much about the provenance and quality of their spices and herbs as they do about their meat, fish, fruit & veg.

We brought ‘Maria’ to life in a bold, creative social media campaign that chefs couldn’t ignore, driving a massive increase in traffic to their online web shop and winning praise from top chefs like Simon Hulstone, Russell Bateman, Luke Tipping & Eric Snaith.

“You can see there’s a huge difference, it’s shown me what I should be using”

Luke Tipping, Chef Director, Simpsons Restaurant


The big

Classic event PR – with a twist – that made chefs think differently about Quorn.

Our job was to inspire chefs and get them to think differently about cooking with Quorn ingredients. We used our unique industry network to get the biggest culinary names in to join us at Alyn Williams at the Westbury for the reveal of the UK’s 10 most popular meals.

But the real surprise came when Alyn Williams revealed the canapés they’d been enjoying were all made with Quorn products from the Steak Strips with Mushroom Duxelle and Diane sauce to the Fish & Chips with Curly Kale and Lemon Tartare sauce. 

UCC Grand Crü

Art of

With the help of master sommelier, Ronan Sayburn, we got high end restaurants to take coffee as seriously as wine.

Our job was to get high end restaurants to take their coffee as seriously as they took their wine – driving sales of Grand Crü, the pinnacle of the UCC Coffee range. So we recruited Master Sommelier, Ronan Sayburn, to develop two completely new blends.

Using a sommelier was completely unprecedented in the coffee world. And the move certainly turned some heads. Ronan’s Art of Blending masterclass at London Coffee Festival was packed to the rafters – just in time for the grand unveiling of the all new Grand Crü he helped develop. But it wasn’t just a stunt. In fact, to this day, Ronan still works with UCC to develop distinctive new blends. 

“By partnering with Ronan, one of the few Master Sommeliers in the world, we’ve created unique, stand out content that has not only built brand equity, but helped get coffee taken as seriously as wine in some of the UK’s top restaurants.”

Dan McGrath, Head Of Marketing, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland


Your best just
got better

In a ballsy move and industry first, we ran a launch campaign for a product that wasn’t even available. And got it flying off the shelves from day dot.

In 2015, KNORR held the lion’s share of the bouillon market. But with so many products around – it wouldn’t last forever. So Unilever Food Solutions developed the KNORR Professional Jelly Bouillon range. The innovative new format gave chefs the ‘from scratch’ taste and performance they needed.

We knew chefs would love it if we could get it into their hands. So we launched a teaser campaign before it was even available. And to add some serious credibility, we secured top chef Mark Sargeant to put his name to it – in print, video and in person. He even rolled up his sleeves at The Restaurant Show pre-launch. So by the time the product was ready for sale, it was already flying off the shelves.

Lyons Coffee


When brands are doing similar things, it can be difficult to stand out. As part of an integrated campaign for Lyons’ coffee, we used facebook pages to increase sales and brand loyalty.

#Freshly squeezed ideas
When Lyons’ coffee launched its range of new flavours and packaging for its coffee bags we wanted to get social media fans involved.

We knew if we could capture a new generation of coffee drinkers the brand would be around for another 110 years. And our client would increase loyalty and sales.

Wake up and smell the coffee
To kick things off we set ourselves a target of bagging an online community for this 110-year old brand in just 110 days. We achieved 86% organic reach through fans and their friends spreading the word through facebook and twitter.

In addition to generating coffee conversations, we handed out exclusive free coffee giveaways, ran competitions to engage with the audience throughout the year and an online advent calendar to spread the seasonal cheer.

Fast forward to today
And our 19,200 loyal facebook followers and 2,300 tweeters continue to spread the word. Resulting in more followers and sales continuing to increase.

“The creative social media campaign for the launch of Lyons’ coffee was exactly what we were looking for.”

Elaine Higginson, UCC Coffee UK & Ireland

The Cavendish Hotel

Actions speak
louder than words

5% VAT campaign captures 100% attention of industry, government and media

The Cavendish London has become a driving force behind the British Hospitality Association’s (BHA) campaign to reduce the rate of VAT in the industry from 20% to 5%. In Summer 2013 the hotel cut its room rates by 15% to simulate the effect of reducing VAT to 5%.

Actions speak louder than words
Our client was the first hotel in the industry to take such a bold move. This netted the hotel an additional £11k in room revenue booked direct through the hotel, media coverage and journalist stays resulting in positive reviews.

Ufi Ibrahim, BHA chief executive backed our campaign by saying: “We’re delighted The London Cavendish has signed up to Cut Tourism VAT and is taking the lead with an initiative to cut its room rates to stimulate a 5% rate of VAT for hotel guests.”

Continuing the debate
To keep the conversation going we’re continuing our work with the BHA and industry. We started 2014 by getting more than 20 Members of Parliament and UK travel industry leaders around a table. In February, and after years of industry campaigning, the MPs who took part in our roundtable discussion got the first ever House of Commons debate on reducing VAT for tourism.

In it for the long term
After such a great start we’re plotting next steps on how we can continue to keep government and industry working together on this important issue. If we get it right it will help promote British hospitality and tourism as a vibrant industry to work in, power the industry’s potential to drive economic vitality and jobs and celebrate the 2.7 million hospitality ambassadors in Britain.

“We are always in touch, which means that we can react very quickly to any situations that arise and can always be one step ahead of the industry.”

Neil Braude, The Cavendish

Santa Maria Foodservice

It’s the word
on the street

Street food is one of the biggest trends of 2014. So, when Santa Maria created its innovative ‘World To Go’ concept we knew they were on to a winner. Inspired by street eats, the concept featured a range of toppings and sauces to help restaurants recreate authentic street food flavours.

To launch the range in the UK we created a campaign to highlight the influence street food has on the eating out market.

We commissioned a specialist foodservice research company to go out and visit four street food markets in and around London. This combined with a 150 face-to-face consumer interviews generated new insight, which we published in the Street Food Report 2014.

Fast forward to today
Through a launch event and traditional and digital media we sparked a debate and created food for thought on the power of street food. Our key messages reached an audience of more than 1.7million – but that’s only half the story. The campaign also generated eight new listings and business leads for Santa Maria Foodservice.

Alpha LSG

Premium work for
a premium kitchen

When you set your sights on changing the face of airline catering by spending £10m on a state of the art kitchen, you need to work with an agency that understands more than just PR.

That’s where we stepped in. It’s fair to say that Alpha LSG was seen as a ‘safe pair of hands’ – not very innovative and no clear identity. Well not any more. Before we started on the plan to launch their Premium Kitchen, our team of branding experts worked on a brand strategy and design that led to the business taking a modular approach and the creation of The Premium Kitchen, Culinary Academy and Dynamic Logistics.

We then set our sights on launching the Premium Kitchen. Serving 150 customers from 75 of the world’s major airlines, we wanted to showcase its versatility and capability. To do this we created an indoor street food market for existing and potential customers, serving cuisine from around the world. And it was a huge success, with people flying in from around the world, media and even the local MP.

Flying high
And our work didn’t stop after launch. We also created a recipe book, designed and launched their website and created long-term relationships with The Craft Guild of Chefs and Westminster Kingsway College. Phew!


British Roast
Dinner Week

Knorr wanted to sell more gravy to pubs and restaurants. Through insight we identified that UK consumers were still in love with a traditional Sunday roast, and not only on Sundays. And there’s more. They love to eat them in a traditional British boozer.

Hello British Roast Dinner Week. We created a week-long celebration of one of Britain’s most loved dishes. By building a solid business case, British Roast Dinner Week encourages pubs and restaurants to serve roasts all week and not just on Sundays. The hero of the week is the Best British Roast Dinner competition, where one pub is crowned the best roast in Britain. And guess what? Knorr sells more gravy. It makes great business sense, and everyone’s a winner.

Fast forward three years
Today, the campaign has helped to position Knorr as the go-to gravy brand for pubs and restaurants and has become a calendar event in it’s own right.

And, the competition continues to grow. This year (2014) British Roast Dinner Week generated an 89% increase in pubs entering to win the coveted title, but that’s only half the story. Our insight and content has seen more pubs visit the UFS’ pub website, resulting in a huge 578% increase in web traffic. On top of this, over 100,000,000 opportunities to read Knorr’s key messages have been published, with coverage appearing in Publican’s Morning Advertiser, Pub & Bar, The Metro, The Times and The Daily Telegraph, to name a just a few.

And the winning pub?
It’s been a whirlwind of activity for The Truscott Arms since judges from British Roast Dinner Week chose their pub from among 300 other hopefuls as home of Britain’s best British roast dinner. Food revenues have increased by 50% and the pub is currently serving 400 Roast Dinners every Sunday. Check out the pub pages




We needed a big idea to get samples into chefs’ hands. With over 12,000 visiting chefs and decision-makers, The Hospitality Show was the place to do it.

We chartered the KNORR gravy train to take chefs from London Euston to The Hospitality Show. Following free first class travel and industry networking, passengers were met by a chef-clad KNORR gravy promotions team and were given samples. A further 3,000 samples were given to show visitors on the station concourse.

We used online PR, our industry networks and social media to get chefs talking and to recruit our passengers. The biggest conversation was on Twitter with high profile chefs like Mark Sargeant and 2013 National Chef of the Year winner, Hayden Groves, encouraging chefs to get onboard.

Grabbing headlines
The KNORR gravy train was a reported highlight of the show. In fact, over a 10-day period, there were 1.3m opportunities to see or read about it. According to the most important person, our client, it’s been a huge success!


The Big School
Bake Off

Unilever Food Solutions wanted to showcase the great talent in school kitchens.

So we launched the Big School Bake Off Competition supported by Stork, to find the very best school baker amongst school chefs and cooks.

Rising to the challenge
We received over 100 entries at ‘Cake Central’ which were whittled down to a lucky 18. These 18 were judged by TV Bake Off winner Jo Wheatley in three live heats at the LACA Conference with just eight going through to the final bake off at Unilever Food Solutions HQ. Sarah Medlicott, from Torbay School, was crowned Big School Bake Off winner.

The icing on the cake
The publicity campaign achieved 630,000 opportunities to see or read about the competition. According to James Allred, Unilever Food Solutions channel marketing manager: “The Big School Bake Off competition has been a huge success. It’s helped us demonstrate our support for school cooks and chefs and has really opened doors for us. We’re expecting the competition to get bigger and better every year.”

Santa Maria Foodservice

getting the hots
for black pepper

Santa Maria Foodservice knew they had the best black pepper on the market, and wanted a platform to drive awareness of their unique product to chefs and operators right across Europe.

We needed a great idea for showcasing our client’s Tellicherry Black Pepper as a premium ingredient. Pepper was already seen by chefs as essential in the kitchen, but knowledge of the types and varying quality of pepper were in a ‘blind spot’. Pepper needed to be put in the spotlight.

Knowing that chefs recognised the gap in their pepper knowledge, and wanted to learn more, our idea was to launch ‘The Tastes of Pepper’ campaign, to be rolled out across eight key countries.

We hit the kitchens to survey 400 chefs about black pepper, and used the results to build a toolkit of assets and advice about the ‘king of spices’, including an online pepper guide, an infographic and ‘The Tastes of Pepper’ poster for kitchens. Our campaign incentivised chefs with samples and a competition to create a Tellicherry recipe to win a trip to the pepper’s home in Kerala, India, targeting the leading industry figures to get maximum impact. We appointed a campaign ambassador to host pepper masterclasses and took over the cover of the leading trade magazine, The Caterer, reaching 21,000 readers.

The Taste of Success
‘The Tastes of Pepper’ campaign boosted Santa Maria Foodservice’s whole black pepper sales across Europe by 35% in a year. And spice sales grew by 21.2% too. A great result and a happy client.

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