Our task was to reverse massively declining sales figures in a market where all the growth was in own label. It was, practically speaking, an invisible brand - everyone knew ‘curry sauce’. Far fewer were aware it was McDonnells. They also faced competition from other easier to prepare sauces and also from own-brand products in Aldi, Tesco and Lidl. These discounter own brands were selling me-too products at nearly half the price and had gained 29% market share.


 Sometimes you need a sauce to make food taste great. And when you do, we want you to think of McDonnells Curry sauce. Our strategy therefore was to position McDonnells as the tasty meal maker. We would also leverage our market leading position to justify a uniquely Irish tone of voice, which would put clear water between ourselves and our competitors. We felt this taste-centric strategy, if delivered in a uniquely Irish, humorous way, could appeal to mums, students and a broader family audience.


MAKES FOOD TASTE GREAT. For inspiration, we looked to existing brands telling stories of ‘authentic’ Irishness like Lidl or Bord Bia. Taste was our message, so our idea therefore was to create a loving homage of this authentic style. We looked for our everyday antihero who would be the spokesperson. Enthusiastic rather than restrained. We decided to cast stand up comedians and this inversion peppered with both slapstick and surreal comedy, would lift our piece out of the humdrum of the ‘genuine’ Irish category. 


TV – national and satellite channels

Online video – TV players YouTube; etc. microsite

Point of sale - 280 store-points and 4,200 trolley handles

Total budget €340,000

Media value €600,000


  • A 9% decline figure YoY was reversed, instead enjoying 15% increase in sales.
  • 24% swing in sales during the key 9-month period from launch. This incredible turnaround gave McDonnells confidence to launch a range of NPD - Thai, Indian etc. – all have been successfully rolled out.
  • McDonnells had considered moving to promotions driving and selling the product for a loss of 25% on every pack. By choosing to invest in advertising, that potential loss became a gain.
  • This campaign was a multi award winner including Gold at ADFX.
Find more on the Boys + Girls website
Find more on the Boys + Girls website