What happens when you introduce the Home of the Roast to the UKs fastest growing social media platform?...

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...Views in the millions (all organic), more followers than one of the country’s biggest fast food chains AND, more importantly, a 20% increase in footfall. 


All activity needs to come back to Toby’s core proposition - bringing families together to enjoy a great British favourite, the roast, delivered by specialists who focus on quality, taste and range.  The broader strategic role of social is driving brand consideration beyond a Sunday, through affinity, advocacy and engagement - and we need to demonstrate we drive awareness with core audiences and sales.

Two key objectives:

  1. Toby Carvery is consistent in what it delivers so we needed an approach that could show the Home of the Roast as fresh and innovative, particularly with the ‘must-win’ 18-30-year-old audience. Awareness and engagement was the key metric. 
  2. Secondly, being a value-conscious brand, we needed a campaign that could show an impact on trading, particularly for lower footfall times like weekdays and breakfast.

Target audience & strategy

TikTok is experiencing the same type of explosive growth experienced by Instagram. With 800M+ global users it’s the fastest growing social app in the UK.

Its strongest demographic is 18-24 and increasingly TikToks are driving Instagram, YouTube and Twitter content, in the way Vine used to for Twitter.

The tone and type of content is light-hearted, positive, and typically non-controversial. Brands are only just starting to engage, and right now there is a) space to innovative and explore, b) an opportunity to be a first mover, c) related to b, an opportunity to grab share of mind, relative to more mature platforms.

It’s perfect for Toby in terms of audience, format and content - bringing to life classic British and family life through a favourite, the roast dinner! It’s also an opportunity to reach a new cohort of dining out consumers which are difficult to reach given the decline of traditional media consumption. That’s important for the short-term trading fortunes and medium-term brand prospects of the much-venerated Toby brand, and forms part of our overall strategic journey to be bigger and bolder as a brand to ensure continued relevance.

Finally, Toby is well known for consistently and reliably offering a British classic (a carvery), with all the trimmings. That means we need to demonstrate brand innovation through how we communicate that offer. TikTok allows us to retain brand relevance, delivered in a new and surprising way.

Implementation & Creativity   

We looked at comparable video-led platforms to analyse what generates conversation with the 18-30 audience - tapping into what drives viral reach and would therefore be core to TikTok’s success (on a practical level, what content we should create). 

Some of the conversations we identified were:

  • Sweetcorn in a roast - good or bad?
  • Crispy roasties make a roast
  • Is there anything better than gravy?
  • Is there anything better to solve a hangover than a full English breakfast?

Channel and content strategy

We spent time studying what works (and doesn’t) on TikTok on a quant and qual level. We identified the following elements that impact success and built a platform approach around it (organic only):

  1. Use existing meme formats as it allows you to find other content easily - it largely needs content created specifically for this platform rather than repurposed
  2. Production requirements are deliberately lo-fi for TikTok and work best (unlike other platforms where high production content overperforms)
  3. Post regularly with ‘warm up’ TikTok before ‘hero’ pieces of content
  4. Post ‘hero’ pieces of content on a weekend to increase the chances of hitting the FYP (For You Page) and going ‘viral’. You have all day audience availability

Content production and activation

This was experimental so needed to work on all levels with minimal disruption, particularly to the Toby sites where filming needs to take place. We used two team members and all production and editing was done by OneFifty.

To activate, we used wider elements of the social media program to amplify including:

  • Sharing content with our Gold Card members (celebrities and influencers who get free Toby via an exclusive card)
  • Sharing content through other social channels
  • Live community management whereby all (appropriate) comments are responded to

We’ve also tested:

  • Cadence of posting
  • Meme styles
  • Caption writing - this appears to be a key algorithmic factor for shares (on other
  • platforms - social, email, WhatsApp etc...)

The Results!

Headline stats, in 28 days and 12 TikToks:

  • Over 1.32M views
  • Two ‘viral’ successes generating 417.1K and 698.8K views (the latter of which now stands at 1.1M on its own)

You can watch them here and here

  • Grown from 0-16.9K followers - making Toby Carvery the biggest UK food brand on TikTok (beating another favourite, Burger King)

The two videos which went ‘viral’ both hit the heart of what Toby is about and its product was core to them. The first one lands that Toby does a great roast dinner (focus on the deck with chef, says expertise/hits Britain's love of the roast) and the second says Toby is the perfect destination after a good night out on a Saturday (an extensive selection of breakfast items that you don't need to cook yourself!).

Our biggest success - showing off the breakfast deck, which alone saw 698.1K views in 3 days - had:

  • 605.3K unique views in the UK
  • Totalling 5267 hours (watching our breakfast deck!)
  • With an average watch time of 27secs

Back to our objectives...

  • An innovative way to reach 18-30 years olds, as demonstrated by views and follower growth. Future paid media budgets are being redistributed into this channel.
  • We’ve seen a quantifiable impact on short term trading:
    • Breakfast footfall, the weekend that went viral, was up 20%
    • It ties back to medium term, build branding:
      • Helps win the share of voice battle with the 18-30 cohort. We need to win them now by being the number one brand for visibility and engagement on this platform
      • Most positive sentiment of any other social channel for Toby
  • As a bonus, it got media attention - often challenging for Toby - with the likes of Sarah Manavis, New Statesman; Gemma Milne, Forbes/BBC; and James Vincent, Verge, all sharing it (positively) on Twitter

OneFifty Consultancy

We are an award winning consultancy which uses data and models of human behaviour to drive purposeful digital interactions, with the people who matter. We’re a fast-growth business, launching in 2016, with 20 people in the team. We’re one of FT's 1000 fastest growing companies in Europe (2021), have been recognised as one of the UK’s top startups three years in a row (2018, 2019, 2020) and PRCA’s Digital Agency of the Year (2020).