Behind the Work in association withThe Immortal Awards

Why Butterkist is ‘Here for the Drama’ of Partygate

Advertising Agency
London, UK
St Luke’s art director, Jordan Morris and copywriter, Danny Jones on the Butterkist ad that garnered eight national news titles and 50,000 organic Twitter impressions

Popcorn brand Butterkist alongside creative agency St Luke’s use the UK Prime Minister’s Partygate conversation as an opportunity to encourage the nation to ‘Go Grab the Butterkist’, in their latest campaign. 

St Luke's ECD Richard Denney says, “Whether it's watching your favourite series on Netflix or getting together with your loved ones, Go Grab the Butterkist is all about being part of those unmissable moments. The brand line was always meant to be socially reactive too, with the ambition of becoming colloquial.” 

Richard continues, “Jordan [art director] and Danny [copywriter] sharply spotted the opportunity of Partygate as a perfect demonstration of one of those very moments and, like Butterkist, put a smile on the faces of the nation when we needed it most. I’m super chuffed for them as they are only three weeks into their roles with us, and have already demonstrated why we wanted them to join us at St Luke’s. Exciting times ahead for them and us all.”

To talk through the campaign from their perspective, St Luke's art director, Jordan Morris and copywriter, Danny Jones, speak to LBB’s Nisna Mahtani.

LBB> How did the initial idea of ‘Here for the Drama’ and ‘Go Grab the Butterkist’ come up?

Jordan & Danny> The kernel of the idea was for Butterkist to become synonymous with the ‘popcorn moment.’ It’s an expression people use when something dramatic happens – ‘Let’s sit back and enjoy the popcorn.’ It’s become a social media meme to reply to any dramatic situation with a gif of someone apprehensively eating popcorn. We wanted Butterkist to be strongly associated with those dramatic moments. With the Partygate drama in Parliament reaching boiling point, this looked like a classic Butterkist moment. We thought it would be funny if a journalist was caught outside parliament eating popcorn. The campaign evolved from there.


LBB> You cleverly rebranded the original campaign that launched in November of 2021. How long did it take to create the new material?

Jordan & Danny> When the work was originally created in 2021, St Luke’s took multiple reaction shots of our Butterkist cast ready to use for these popcorn moments. The simplicity of the reactions means we only need to write the relevant headline - which in this case was ‘Here for the Drama’ - and then animate it. The images were created by our in-house production department Apostle, so we can be quick to react to any drama.

LBB> How involved were Butterkist in the ideation and creation process? 

Jordan & Danny> This was a great team effort from Butterkist, St Luke’s and Red PR. We had the idea on Sunday and presented it to the Butterkist team on Tuesday. Within hours everyone pulled together, getting the right people on board to make it happen in the same week.  
The moment the client saw the work they knew how much publicity the stunt could garner. The client was there on the day and thoroughly enjoyed eating popcorn outside Number 10.

LBB> Why was this the perfect opportunity to be tongue-in-cheek with the marketing campaign and how does it align with Butterkist as a brand?

Jordan & Danny> Partygate is a Butterkist moment on a national scale. The goings-on in Parliament are pure showbiz. It’s a drama that everyone is watching unfold whether they like it or not. So we added a little light touch with a well-known snack brand. Just to shake things up a bit.

LBB> How did you decide on the moving billboard and why was it the best way to get the message across?

Jordan & Danny> We were just going to have some product sampling outside Number 10, handing out popcorn to journalists waiting for the next headline. But we needed something to announce our presence, something that people couldn’t miss and that would stand out on social media. The moving billboard was a perfect way of grabbing people’s attention.

LBB> ‘Here for the Drama’ and ‘Go Grab the Butterkist’ are simple yet punchy ways to sum up your message. How did you come up with the supporting copy and how long did it take?

Jordan & Danny> Once the ideas started popping, inspiration came quickly. It took five days from hatching the original idea to staging the stunt. We looked for a line that would give a good reason for us to be outside Number 10, and that’s how we landed on ‘Here for the Drama’. It’s a nod to all those Butterkist moments that the popcorn is there for.

 [Pictured above: Jordan Morris & Danny Jones]

LBB> What was the biggest challenge in creating the campaign?

Jordan & Danny> It was important to get this work out there while the subject matter was still relevant. The biggest challenge for the campaign was getting it out of the door in such a short space of time. The whole team were fantastic and really pulled together.

LBB> Tell us about the most memorable reaction to the campaign that you saw/heard of. How did people react?

Jordan & Danny> There were a lot of compliments to the marketing team online. The best one for us was that our mates shared it through WhatsApp without realising we were the team behind it – and it organically found its way back to us. It’s a massive boost when you see or hear your idea being shared privately because you know the engagements on social channels are just the tip of the iceberg.


LBB> Would you like to share anything else?

Jordan & Danny> We were incredibly pleased with the results. We reached eight national titles with 86 million total opportunities to see the stunt. We featured in over 10 trade titles and were The Ad Age Editor’s Pick and we came top of the poll for PR Week’s Campaign of the Month. On social, our tweets generated 50,000 organic impressions on the day encouraging people to tag Butterkist and using #GoGrabTheButterkist. 
We were blown away by the drive to get the work out of the door. It was only our third week at St Luke’s as a creative team and this was our first piece of work. We’re super excited to be at a place with so many ambitious employees and clients. We can’t wait to see what we and the rest of the agency are capable of this year.