If there’s one person who can sell frozen pizza, you’d think it’d be Peter Andre.

However, you might have noticed that Iceland, the UK’s frozen supermarket chain, has stopped airing TV adverts featuring the overly-enthusiastic Aussie.

In place of Andre and other (arguably) recognisable faces like Michael Buble and Stacy Solomon, the brand has introduced a campaign featuring real-life mums.

Teaming up with YouTube community, Channel Mum, it now works with a number of vloggers to promote its products in a more ‘authentic’ fashion.

So, why the move? Here’s a few reasons behind Iceland’s shift in marketing strategy.

Value of micro-influencers

Last year, Iceland’s boss, Malcolm Walker, reportedly labelled the supermarket’s association with celebrities as ‘brand damaging’ – a hint at the troubles of Iceland’s front-woman, Kerry Katona.

While it's hard to say whether this has had a truly negative impact, what we do know for sure is that social media influencers have simultaneously risen in popularity.

More specifically, we've begun to see a greater demand for micro-influencers.

If you’re not familiar with the term, a micro-influencer is someone with anywhere between 500 to 10,000 followers on social media. With a smaller but more in-tune audience, many brands are recognising the power of working with them instead of top-tier influencers or celebrities.

In fact, a recent study by Markerly proved that bigger doesn’t always mean better.

From analysis of 800,000 Instagram users, with the majority having at least 1,000 followers, it found that the rate of engagement (in the form of likes and comments) decreases as the number of followers rises.

For brands like Iceland, it’s clear that micro-influencers offer a unique opportunity to tap into an existing and highly engaged audience.

Changing brand perceptions

Influencer marketing is based on honesty and authenticity. Instead of spinning brand-designed messages, the idea is that micro-influencers are natural advocates - either loyal customers in their own right or recently converted fans. 

Iceland has chosen to capitalise on this with Channel Mum, a medium-sized community, and an existing demographic that aligns with the supermarket’s own target audience.

For its most recent Christmas campaign, it focused on changing brand perception, asking vloggers who had previously avoided the supermarket to re-consider their opinion.

By inviting viewers into real-life homes, the vloggers are able to build a sense of authenticity and trust that is often missing from celebrity-driven marketing. 

With recent research showing that 35% of young mums are more likely to trust online videos rather than traditional mediums, Iceland aims to win back former customers as well as lure in new ones with this upfront approach.

While previous TV advertising was merely focused on ‘showing’ products, YouTube enables the 'tell' aspect - using honest opinions and relatable storytelling.

Cost effective campaign

For Iceland, the benefits of using micro-influencers does not just lie in immediate levels of engagement. With a direct and laser-focused approach to targeting, it can be a more cost-effective solution in the long run.

Instead of using the medium of television to speak to a large audience – the majority of which may not be part of Iceland’s target demographic or even that interested in the food sector – the brand is able to tap into a smaller but far more attentive audience online.

By creating an entire series for a single campaign, it's also able to reach customers on a regular basis.

Lastly, with platform algorithms now favouring other factors over chronological ordering, micro-influencer content is more likely to be visible online.

In turn, it’s also more likely to be shared, building on word-of-mouth recommendations from family and friends. 

In conclusion...

Following on from its success with Channel Mum, Iceland has recently introduced dads into its online marketing campaign, planning 36 new videos from a male perspective.

Proving the continued value of micro-influencers, Iceland is a great example of how to tap into and engage (and re-engage) a target market.

For more on this topic, download these Econsultancy reports:

Nikki Gilliland

Published 11 January, 2017 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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