Charlie Bigham’s - redefining the ready meal

The Challenge

The initial launch of Charlie Bigham’s high end ready meals in Waitrose originally transformed the ready meals category in the 90s. However this success meant that soon all the other major retailers followed and with that, Charlie Bigham’s clear differentiation was eroded. While Bigham’s could claim to have superior ingredients, it was struggling for differentiation and was under pressure from the supermarkets to deliver growth in a very short timeframe.


The Strategy

Working with a core team eatbigfish embarked on a process to help Charlie Bigham’s revitalise the brand and regain their challenger spirit. We designed a ‘fast track’ version of our core Challenger Identity process in order to very quickly and efficiently create a stronger sense of identity (and the ideas to bring it to life).

The breakthrough came not from a more conventional ‘eating occasions’ segmentation strategy as initially thought, but rather from listening to customers talk about a moment in the week that was absent – date nights for busy married couples. From this insight we helped the core team develop a strong strategic brand identity, and branding agency Big Fish (good friends but no relation) turned the strategy into the creative notion of celebrating ‘twosomes’, which was brought to life on pack, in copy and across their marketing channels.


The Results

  • Marketing Society Awards for Excellence 2011.

  • Twentyfold increase in sales.

  • The fastest growing ready-meal brand in the UK.

The Twosomes, illustration by Simon Pilsbury -

The Twosomes, illustration by Simon Pilsbury -

The work with eatbigfish was fundamental in helping us get clear on what we stood for as a brand
— Tom Allchurch, Chief Marketing Officer