Challenger Advertising

Toast is known for championing challenger brands and startups. We watch out for the latest challengers coming to market and feature some of them here.

Being a successful challenger

Getting your challenger advertising just right is an essential step in the evolution of a challenger brand. Being a challenger gives you the freedom to be more agile, quirky or look new. Your smaller size and lack of mid-level administrative bloat also mean you can react quicker.

Toast has worked with many challenger companies over the years. We find that dealing with company owners and founders makes the for a swifter decision-making process. You can use your size as a competitive advantage. Move quicker, get products to market faster or respond to changing trends with a new product or service more quickly than competitors.

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Challenger Brand – Little’s Coffee

It’s been some time since we’ve had a challenger brand of the month. But, as I’m sitting at home in my office and we’re about 12 weeks into Lockdown, I thought it about time to remedy the omission. I’ve found Lockdown has brought along an odd sense of time. The other day I stumbled across a 48-minute video of the Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins talking to a 6Music DJ about drumming. I’m not particularly interested in drumming, and 48-minutes did feel a bit long for a video, but I had a closer look. Around 38-minutes later I wish I’d asked for an Argos drum-set for Christmas. Although tapping on my desk, I’m not sure I have any sense of rhythm.
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Challenger Brand – WooWoo

WooWoo is a quirky new brand of feminine care products, breaking age-old taboos they’re all about sexual health and sexual honesty. With Love Island's Megan Barton Hanson as their Brand Ambassador, their vibe is all about personal self-confidence. WooWoo Birds And Bees advert The creative team have come up with unashamedly colourful and attractive packaging, something you can be proud and honest to have on the bathroom shelf or in the handbag.
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Challenger Brand – Habito

Habito branding   Gone are the days of sitting in front of your friendly bank manager asking him to lend you the standard 3 and a half times your income to secure a mortgage on your dream home. Now the whole mortgage process is going digital and probably the best of the bunch is Habito. Habito was founded by Daniel Hegarty, an early employee at Wonga, who had a masterplan to take away the hassle of applying for a mortgage. Habito say they analyse over 11,000 mortgage products across 70 lenders in real-time. The entire process takes place via the Habito app on your smartphone or on their website and crucially it’s free, Ending the fees that many traditional mortgage brokers charge. In the same way Rightmove revolutionised the house buying and selling process, Habito puts the consumer in touch with more mortgage offers to suit their needs. The lack of a need for credit checks at the initial search stages will reassure potential customers who just want to get a feel of what’s out there. Habito's app also has a modern feel with the Habito branding adding to this look. Habito mobile app   The early feedback on Trustpilot, the consumer review site, is extremely positive and people seem to like the experience and the customer service they receive. At Toast we always love digital innovators who make life easier for their customers. With mortgages being the biggest financial commitment many of us make in our lifetimes then more choice can never be a bad thing. So Habito are our challenger brand of the month.  
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Challenger Brand of the Month – Oatly

Oatly make the milk substitute drink from of course oats. To be more precise, Swedish organic oats. Swedish oats they claim are amongst the best they grow healthily in the Nordic climate and crucially a lot of the evil pesticides that are used on oats in the rest of Europe are banned in Sweden. We like the company because they are irreverent in their advertising and they have strong ethical values mixed with cool science! Keep an eye out for an Oatly advert their always fun. Oatly’s patented enzyme technology mirrors nature’s own natural process and turns fibre rich oats into a very nutritious liquid food that is good for you and good for the environment. Oatly advert The company operates out of the southern region of Sweden with Headquarters in Malmö. The Oatly brand is available in more than 20 countries throughout Europe and Asia. Oatly is keen on being a people brand. Setting up the world’s first non-dairy coffee festival, selling t-shirts with head-turning messaging like “Post Milk Generation” and recently, put out unbranded products with the title of “Not Milk”. It’s this out of-the-box thinking which puts Oatly ahead of their more boring and traditional competitors. And they are already sowing oats that are financial fruitful with a revenue of over 40 million dollars last year. We like our oats at Toast, they're part of a healthy breakfast. Oatly are our challenger brand of the month.
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Challenger Brand of the month – Birdsong Clothing

Birdsong is a wonderful London-based online fashion store with a genuine promise of “no sweatshops and no photoshop!” A brand who believe in keeping it real and keeping it fair. Birdsong clothing has a simple mission, to revolutionise the way women dress. Making sure their clothes are made with care and skill and at the same time giving help to local women’s organisations. “From migrant seamstresses, knitting grannies to all our customers, we unite women.” Many women workers are exploited for the sake of fashion. Birdsong reject that philosophy. They just want a fun way to do fashion that doesn’t make women feel ashamed about their size and shape. April-18th-banners2
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Challenger Brand of the month – Skinny Prosecco

Looking for then latest health drink? Want to live a champagne lifestyle without piling on the pounds? Well we may just have the fizz for you… Skinny Prosecco   Thomson & Scott's 'Skinny' prosecco contains only 67 calories per glass. Even health-fanatic Ellie Goulding is a big fan, with an Instagram message of support saying 'I'LL TAKE IT'.

Drone Delivery the Future of Toast

London is bewildering in its levels of culinary creativity. A gourmet crisp shack, pop up potato joint and grilled cheese sandwich shop all exist within the media haven of Soho. A new hire at Toast, Harry Harryman was quick to point this out. He jumped to work immediately, capitalising on this booming trend. Partly transforming our video production shop into a street food business with a difference – a drone delivery food service. Toast introduced the next step in “snack UX” – drone food delivery Toast.

The next unicorn?

Once rumours of the project leaked out we came under intense interest from various parties in venture capital land. Quotes about the project are too numerous to mention. It reminded all at Toast of the now-famous “project ginger” from a few years back. We were about the change the food delivery landscape forever, our drone delivery idea was to be revolutionary. Toast invited investors to London for secret demos a few months after starting up. Then the service ran in stealth mode for about 6 months. We experienced problems in secretly beta testing the service in a built-up area. We found a new location, Frenchman Flat Nevada after initial scouting. It seemed a good location given its secret nature and numerous abandoned building structures. We later ruled out ex-nuclear testing site Frenchman Flat as the drone rotors had a tendency to stir up ground dust which would be a health risk.
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Heck Sausages

What the heck? Here’s our challenger brand of the month. Heck Sausages   Heck is a small family brand. Quite simply they create great sausages, burgers, meatballs, and veggie variations. They pride themselves on locally sourced high-quality ingredients and at Toast, we love the idea behind their family food.
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Challenger Brand of the month – SIMBA

Who wouldn’t enjoy the promise of the perfect night’s sleep? Feet in bed feature in a Simba advert   Well, that promise, from challenger brand mattress company Simba, seems to be backed up by the stellar reviews their innovative mattress designs get from their satisfied customers. From developing their own top layer latex “Simbatex” that didn’t trap in heat to extensively testing their mattresses with the respected “Sleep To Live Institute” whose research profiled more than 10 million people and included 180 million body profile data points. And then there’s the revolutionary springs – Simba created springs with one of the world's leading spring manufacturers to design a unique spring to complement a rolled mattress. The conical pocket spring Simba developed was the missing ingredient - it meant they solved the secret of the perfect night's sleep. Simba go the extra mile to create the world’s most advanced mattress.
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Challenger Brand – Oppo Ice Cream

A few years ago, two brothers, Charlie and Harry Thuillier, went windsurfing in the wilderness of Brazil. They survived on foods naturally sourced on the wild coastline, including coconuts and wild super-fruits. Not only were they super healthy and nutritious, but they tasted wonderful too. On returning home, the boys became fascinated with the idea of using healthy natural ingredients to make indulgent food; nutritious without sacrificing taste.  Just like the food they loved so much on their trip. Oppo Ice Cream was born. oppo-brothers oppo ice cream  
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Challenger Brand Of The Month – Brighton Gin

This is the first in a monthly series where here at Toast we look at Challenger brands and bring you the ones we believe are cool, interesting and innovative. Who knows – they could be the next Innocent Smoothies.

This month we look at Brighton Gin: Playful and fiercely independent.

Brighton Gin owners standing Photocredit: Natasha Bidgood

Challenger Brands – Staying the distance

You're one of the new challenger brands, there’s a buzz building on social media, you may even be the next big thing in your sector. Three cheers for you!  But how do you capitalise on this initial interest and stay relevant for the long term? It’s a problem a lot of new brands have.  Gaining long term consumer trust and awareness.

Getting the challenger advertising strategy right

Perhaps you’re better at customer service than the incumbent in your sector. If you’re web-based, you can spend your time working out what doesn’t work on competitor websites and make your user experience better.

When devising a challenger advertising strategy, there is no point following the same route as everyone else. To stand out, you have to be different; doing anything else will be wallpaper.

Challenger advertising has the opportunity to fail without the enormous consequences of a mistake at a large company. Picking up from a failure is quicker and less painful. Conversely, a successful advertising campaign launched by a challenger brand can unseat an incumbent.

Accepting the status quo will mean your challenger status fades quickly, and you will miss the opportunity to overtake the competition.

challenger advertising

Taking on an establishment brand

Taking on an established market leader can be daunting. Leading brands, in theory, have a huge bankroll, but these days they are more likely to have sizeable corporate debt on their balance sheets. Or they could be stuck in a cycle of dividend payments and share buybacks issued to prop up their share price and keep their top-level executive happy. Don’t get hung up on size, products and service matter.

A great example of challenger advertising is the David and Goliath battle between Fever-Tree and Schweppes. Fever-Tree took on Schweppes. Schweppes was the market leader in the tonic water world. Nobody ever saw the need for an alternative. But once a new challenger appeared Schweppes suddenly seemed old-hat.

Fever-Tree was for the younger generation to mix in their cool cocktails. Schweppes was instantly seen as the tonic water of their parents Gin & tonics.

Fever-Tree used their challenger status to breakthrough into the mainstream. Once in the mainstream, they could start appealing the consumers with real spending power. The G&T drinking parents! Schweppes as no longer fresh enough for their G&Ts.

Brand building with TV advertising

Brands often use social media to build a following. Social media is an excellent start as it can be very cost-effective. The challenge comes when user growth starts to plateau. As a startup, user growth is a great way to attain more financing.

Hopefully, the social following has resulted in funding. This funding can be invested in marketing. When a startup is looking for challenger advertising that will move the needle, TV advertising is hard to beat.

Get ahead of the wave of challengers by doing something different. The first brand to embrace TV advertising surges into the public’s imagination. Being on TV gives their brand the trust needed to appeal to a mass market and build long term gains.

If you’re looking for a challenger brand advertising agency do get in touch. We can help you through the process of challenger advertising.