Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

Published in Mar-Apr 2018

Peek Freans moves up to cakes

EBM ventured into a new snacking category, packaged cupcakes, with the launch of Cake Up.

Earlier this year, English Biscuit Manufacturers ventured into a new snacking category, packaged cupcakes, with the launch of Cake Up, a centre-filled cupcake brand. “Given that Peek Freans enjoys a large customer base, high recall, and is synonymous with snack time, it made sense to launch Cake Up under the Peek Freans umbrella,” said Ayesha Janjua, Head of Marketing, EBM.

EBM has been spearheading the growth of the biscuit category for the last 50 years and currently accounts for almost 50% of the biscuit category’s market share in Pakistan. It has a diverse portfolio comprising 14 brands – including plain, sweet and value-added biscuits (such as peanut, pista and chocolate), with most of them leading in their respective categories.


Cake Up’s USP, according to Janjua, is that the fillings are made from real ingredients. This means that real strawberry pulp is used for filling a strawberry cupcake and not just syrup, while real cocoa is used for the chocolate cupcake and not flavouring.


It was this success that motivated EBM to enter a new snacking category and given their baking expertise, cake appeared to be the most relevant one. According to Janjua, “we wanted to take advantage of our experience and enter a new category that has the potential to grow. It is an emerging category and being innovators, we wanted to be the pioneers in Pakistan’s packaged cake segment.”

Presently, the packaged cake segment has predominantly one big player – Hilal – and several small players, such as Dawn, Bake Parlor and Cake Shake. New players, such as Gibbs, are entering the market and experimenting with Swiss rolls and cake slices. However, it would be premature to define market shares in this category.

Cake Up was launched with four variants – strawberry, caramel, chocolate and double chocolate cupcakes. While strawberry-filled and chocolate-filled cakes are available in the market, caramel and double chocolate are new flavours introduced by EBM. “We explored the different kinds of variants that are available in packaged cakes worldwide and fixed upon those that would suit the taste preferences of local consumers,” explained Janjua.


The campaign’s tagline was ‘real rishtey’. This was based on the insight that due to hectic schedules, people are not able to spend quality time with their family and friends which strains relationships. The brand’s message is that just as relationships bring us joy, happiness and love, Cake Up too adds a dash of sweetness to all interactions with loved ones.


The greatest challenge in developing Cake Up was ensuring that the quality promise EBM strives to maintain in all its products was not compromised. Cake Up’s USP, according to Janjua, is that the fillings are made from real ingredients. This means that real strawberry pulp is used for filling a strawberry cupcake and not just syrup, while real cocoa is used for the chocolate cupcake and not flavouring. “We wanted to make sure that we delivered a quality, great tasting product to our customers in the same way we have done for biscuits,” said Janjua. To develop a packaged cupcake, EBM undertook extensive R&D, installed top-of-the-line, customised manufacturing equipment and procured quality ingredients.

According to Janjua, “our variants target children and adults and the product line-up, packaging and the communication has been developed to cater to different age groups and not only position it as a children’s snack. Double chocolate and caramel flavours have proven to be a hit with adults.”

Cake Up has been launched in a single SKU priced at Rs 10. “This is the average price in the market and we managed to produce a great quality offering that is competitively priced,” said Janjua.

The launch was promoted by a 360-degree campaign (developed and executed by Ogilvy India in collaboration with Ogilvy Pakistan). The objective was to inform people that a new product had been launched by EBM in the market. Once the initial goal was achieved, the focus shifted to establishing a brand identity. “We wanted the consumers to know that Cake Up is not just a delicious product, but that they have the option of choosing a branded cupcake come snack time,” explained Janjua.


Janjua is optimistic about the future of the packaged cakes segment in Pakistan; in her opinion, despite there being several snacking options, packaged cakes are a unique offering in terms of taste, convenience and affordability.


The campaign’s tagline was ‘real rishtey’. This was based on the insight that due to hectic schedules, people are not able to spend quality time with their family and friends which strains relationships. The brand’s message is that just as relationships bring us joy, happiness and love, Cake Up too adds a dash of sweetness to all interactions with loved ones.

To engage people and induce trial consumption, ‘Bake Your Own Cake Up’ activities were arranged at major malls (Dolmen City, Karachi; Packages Mall, Lahore; Centaurus Mall, Islamabad) where a virtual Cake Up Factory was set up. By playing an immersive 3D game, children and parents could create their own cupcakes in virtual reality. As part of this experiential activation campaign, The Real Goodness Tunnel was installed on top of the main escalators of the malls’ atrium, and as children glided through the tunnel, they were immersed in strawberry, caramel and chocolate scents. On exiting, free samples of Cake Up were handed out.

In addition to the BTL activities, a TVC was also developed. According to Janjua, “the TVC went viral and received 10 million views within two weeks on Facebook alone. If we add up all digital touchpoints, the views accumulate to more than 18 million.”

Although the brand has been in the market for only three months, EBM say it has already outperformed their initial sales estimates. This is a major win for the brand given that this is EBM’s first foray into the packaged cupcakes category. Janjua is optimistic about the future of the packaged cakes segment in Pakistan; in her opinion, despite there being several snacking options, packaged cakes are a unique offering in terms of taste, convenience and affordability.