How Pukka Pies pivoted to TikTok with out alienating its core 55+ buyer

Pukka Pies have lengthy been a staple of British fish and chip outlets and soccer matches however now the heritage model is seeking to develop exterior its 55+ base and seize youthful demographics by switching to a social-first technique.

The heritage pie enterprise has existed for many years on a advertising and media technique that centered on out-of-home round mid-tier soccer, linear TV and commerce advertising in fish and chip outlets.

The ways constructed a loyal buyer group, largely aged 55+, who propelled it to a pre-tax revenue of £4.35m final yr. However that determine was down on the yr earlier than (£5.85m). The model realized it was failing to achieve youthful generations, lots of whom had by no means heard of Pukka earlier than. Its absence from digital platforms meant it couldn’t merely depend on its model heritage to promote pies to Gen Z.


In April, Pukka executed an natural TikTok technique that it claims has since generated a 700% uplift in followers previously two months and racked up 43,000 engagements and a couple of.54 million video views.

Rachel Cranston, head of name at Pukka Pies, is behind the brand new technique. She describes herself as a “custodian of a heritage model” and so has needed to tread rigorously to keep away from alienating Pukka’s core heartland client base whereas pushing the model ahead.

She tells The Drum: “Our mantra is actual meals, actual folks, and actual lives, and what we’ve seen on TikTok is people who find themselves not making an attempt to be one thing they’re not.”

Cranston appointed The Wild by Jungle company to pivot the model’s media combine and implement its TikTok-led technique. The brand new combine is a “actual motion away from linear” to utilizing TikTok as a “key broadcast channel.”


Tom McGirr, government technique director at The Wild, led the challenge. He says TikTok felt extra aligned with Pukka’s model ethos and the method it wished to take with group constructing.

This isn’t the primary time Cranston has tried to relaunch the model to a youthful technology. Her first try at a social-led technique led her to go all in on Instagram, however she admits it by no means felt like the proper match. “The factor with one of these model is that if we ever do something not credible, or sort of something that’s faux in any approach, or superficial folks will inform us,” Cranston says.

“Pukka isn’t making an attempt to current this polished store window, we all know Instagram is a curated feed and it’s form of a shiny Argos catalog,” McGirr provides. “If you’re a platform the place individuals are capable of be genuine, have enjoyable, win huge, but additionally stomach flop and never get so chastised for it, TikTok is the place you are able to do that.”

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Pukka dates again to Sixties Leicestershire when a husband-and-wife Trevor and Valerie Storer began making pies and since then has remained an unbiased pie-maker. The pair informed The Drum that Pukka is serving an viewers base that’s usually underrepresented in model communications; it’s the everyman, the normal British household, it’s not a “tech-savvy progressive viewers”.

McGirr says: “There’s an inherent problem if you work with a legacy model as a result of there’s a lot sort of cultural gunpowder in nostalgia, however nostalgia can be baggage. It might probably make you’re feeling dated and slightly bit old skool.”

Cranston believes the corporate’s current push into new merchandise, together with its on-the-go ranges and meat-free pies and sausage rolls, give it the license to push into new locations. “So that actually has enabled our social technique to evolve as a result of you already know, it’s not simply someone sat at residence with meat and two veg,” she explains.

Recipes and grassroots soccer

TikTok has over 1 billion month-to-month lively customers and, not like its social media counterparts, is seeing time spent on its app rising somewhat than declining. With a restricted funds at hand, McGirr wished to faucet into this chance, saying TikTok can “drive large attain with out large media spend you possibly can go viral.”

However this relies on the proper content material. Pukka’s method to natural engagement has been to weigh into meals debates like what’s higher on a pie, ketchup or brown sauce. “There are scorching debates round meals and Pukka has completely the proper to faucet into these,” McGirr says. Pukka can be creating content material or pushed consumer content material that exhibits pies might be loved past “boiled veg and chips,” for instance, recipes with honey-roasted carrots or summer season salads.

Pulling on its heritage with content material round grassroots soccer is a second a part of its TikTok technique that goals at getting youthful folks enthusiastic about non-professional soccer. Pukka is gearing as much as launch a TikTok collection all concerning the grassroots sport.

Double down on bringing customers into the feed. “The technique that we really laid out thisyear was how we get extra form of folks on the road that includes content material; you see so many meals manufacturers posting the identical sort of the identical shiny top-down recipes,” McGirr says.

“Social supplies us with good platforms to share that evolution via related and interesting messages that resonate with a variety of present and new customers,” Cranston summarizes of her technique. “It’s via protecting content material actual and true to who we’re as a model that makes folks within the UK relate to us on social- that’s what makes us completely different and distinctively Pukka.”