Emma Stowers

marketer of the week

The marketer dishing a dose of joy with Ginsters: Emma Stowers

The marketing director, alongside TBWA/London, brings back the loveable farmer Merryn for a radio ad to reinvigorate the pasty brand

By conor nichols

Ginsters launched its fun and humorous ‘Taste the Effort’ brand platform last year with TBWA/London to tackle the misconception that the Cornish pasty brand is a low-quality cold snack to be eaten on the go. Some 74 per cent of people were previously unaware that vegetables in Ginsters products are grown in Cornwall as well as a stone's throw from the bakery. All the meat is also 100 per cent British.

The company invested £4m last summer - its biggest spend to date - to introduce the nation to the wonderfully eccentric and Cornish world of Merryn, a lovable and quirky farmer who embodies the brand’s effort in going above and beyond to source the highest quality vegetables for Ginsters. This February, the brand invested even more into the campaign, bringing Merryn back to feature in radio slots.

The campaign, supported by social, PR, OOH and shopper marketing, has been well-received by consumers and market research platform System1 voted it the 'Ad of the Week', landing a four star score on the ‘Test Your Ad’ rating. “The ad entertains viewers but it’s also firmly linked with the brand, so it’s not just Merryn’s jokes that are working, it’s the whole branded message,” Tom Ewing, System1’s editor in chief, said.

The hilarious character returns in classic Merryn style as she is interviewed about her somewhat unique farming methods and delivering her thoughts and insights about the above-and-beyond care the three key ingredients in Ginsters’ pasties receive from her. The return of Merryn in the new radio ads not only continues the humorous tone of the ‘Taste the Effort’ platform but are also a testament to the success of the campaign and the value of investing in marketing to boost brand growth.

Who is the marketer behind this perception-challenging and hugely successful marketing campaign? Emma Stowers.

Unlike the trend of ‘flash-in-the pan’ stunts that take place in the industry, Ginsters’ marketing director wants Merryn to be a “highly distinctive” long-term brand asset who drives emotional connection. “I’m so proud of the outcome and I love the fact we’re driving happiness with the nation,” Stowers said. The marketer also strives to ensure that the ‘Taste the Effort’ brand platform packs a “heavyweight punch” across several national touchpoints and goes against the grain with regards to other “generic” farm-to-fork campaign stories.

An experienced marketer, Stowers started her marketing career at Sara Lee and then Unilever, working in leadership roles at Johnson & Johnson and most recently as marketing director at McVitie's owner-Pladis. She's been with Ginsters since September 2021. With her drive to boost marketing investment and her work with TBWA/London, the marketer has helped catapult Ginsters to fame.

Larissa Vince, CEO of TBWA/London calls Stowers a “smart, strategic, decisive and brilliant" client. Vince goes on to add: “Emma has a strong and informed view on the job to be done for the business, and the confidence to create positive shifts within her organisation. She's also a great judge of creative work, and respects and trusts our recommendations. All of these things are what made ‘Taste the Effort’ possible. We are very proud of that work, and of the commercial return that we have been able to deliver back to Ginsters, and to Emma and her team.”

The creative work has hit the right chord with UK consumers and Andy Jex, chief creative officer for TBWA/London, believes that one of the reasons is because Stowers has exactly the right balance of knowing what is right for the business and also what is right for the consumers.

“This leads to the work to be both culturally relevant, entertaining and fun but also hugely effective,” Jex adds. “I massively appreciate and love her openness, down to earth nature and willingness to be challenged. She receives work from her agency in such a positive and appreciative way but still manages to push us when we're having an off day.

"I have many fond memories of stuff we’ve worked on together and am hugely proud of so many projects. But I will never forget the first thing we ever did - the big shame was it never saw the light of day. But it was a cracker.”


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