Pilgrims Choice Cheese Dreams

Brand Challenge

Pilgrims Choice is Britain’s no.2 cheddar brand – the cheesy challenger to Cathedral City. With a fraction of the budget of the market leader, and considerably lower share of mind and market, it needed marketing as strong as its cheddar. Marketing must cut through and connect with shoppers who are picking from the cheese chiller on autopilot, with over 80% of branded cheddar bought on promotion.

With a bold new creative idea in development, the Ornua Foods team wanted to explore an alternative approach to media planning that would not only make the most of the vibrant new creative world, but would work for the business bottom line too…



Main Shoppers 35-54, kids in household, interested in recipes and cooking from scratch

Younger Foodies <35

Audience info

With branded cheddar naturally skewing older, Pilgrims Choice wanted to reach out to a younger 35-54 HW audience, and even stretch into a more Foodie-focussed under 35s group to recruit the next generation of Pilgrims who would also be more responsive to the social element of the campaign idea in this age of Instagram check-out-my-brunch blogging.



We reframed media strategy in two ways. Firstly, we did away with a single burst of TV advertising to last the whole year, in favour of a pulse strategy that would keep Pilgrims Choice on air, with high ad recall for many more weeks of the year. Smart media selection meant we could reach more of our target audience by spending less – and keep 1+ reach higher for longer.

Secondly, we took a creative idea that was social by design, and ensured the media did justice to it. With TV budgets diverted into online video, we played out long form and short form copy, and even expanded into the real language of the social media with gifs, square / vertical formats, carousel ads and a canvas.

We then engaged the community and kept the conversation going around the subject of cheese-fuelled dreams, even turning the dreams of 16 lucky winners into our next round of advertising! The winning customers could see their dreams immortalised in our social and Outrdoor ads, just like the original cheese dreams ad which was made for TV.


The campaign helped to secure additional distribution in Morrisons and Sainsbury’s, unlocking vital extra shelf space across UK supermarkets. This helped sales reach record levels in 2018 with more cheese bought at full price than any other period in the last five years.