Vesta's return - Just add TV

The vogue for breathing new life into old brands from the Sixties and Seventies goes from strength to strength. First it was Spam. Then Spangles. And now Vesta Meals, the ultimate in easy to prepare ready meals. Vesta is back on TV after an absence of eight years with an advertising campaign that takes the form of a spoof rockumentary series charting the fortunes of Britain's most consistently unsuccessful rock band, The Vestas.

In a series of five, three-minute long ads, we learn how lead singer Wally Wallis and his pals fare from the mid-60s beat boom through to their glam-rock phase in the early Seventies. Each installment features past and present interviews and archive footage. The result is a joy, not least thanks to the po-faced commentary of Johnnie Walker and a Vestas' family tree constructed by rock archivist Pete Frame. Further installments have yet to be made, including the band's heavy metal period (Iron Vesta).

Episodes one to five are running at the same time each Friday night for the next month taking up an entire commercial break. Each is plugged in the preceding week by ten-second trailers. Tour T-shirts and a CD have already been produced and the band, fronted by real-life singer Les Payne (once voted Britain's least successful musician), may even go on tour in the new year.

Yet despite the grand scale of the idea, the campaign has been constructed on an advertising shoestring. "An extremely modest budget," is how Sara Bennison, Vesta account director at advertising agency Ammirati Purls Lintas, describes the pounds 250,000 total cost. "We planned a single 20 second commercial, but the idea mushroomed," she explains. "But we did it all for the agreed budget, calling in many favours to do so."

Vesta wants to introduce itself to a new generation, she says. Launched back in 1962, the brand was the first taste of Indian cuisine for many. However, the growth since of eating out and arrival in the UK of a broader range of exotic world cuisine took the edge off subsequent sales.

Vesta's boom time was the Seventies, when it became a staple of student larders throughout the land, says Vesta spokesperson Helen Park. "We enjoyed a steady and loyal following, notably amongst former students who introduced their brands to kids. We have since been less able to attract a new following."

So, Vesta tightened its belt, pulling out of TV advertising in 1988. But, in the words of Bennison: "It refused to die". And with the recent nostalgia fad for Seventies' brands, Vesta has decided the time is now for resurrection. Although success will only be evident in six to 12 months, the company is quietly confident. "Vesta enjoys a 70 per cent share (by volume) of the pounds 20m dried ambient food* market," Park says. "If The Vestas take off as we hope, we could double (our) volume."

*Dried ambient foods are neither frozen or "wet". Nor are they reconstituted, like Pot Noodle (for which you just add water). They are, in effect, a meal kit, comprising sauce and noodles or rice, which are boiled, simmered or fried. Mmmm.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Experienced Bookkeeper - German Speaking - Part Time

    £23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm of accountants based ...

    Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

    £30000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are a financial services c...

    Ashdown Group: Field Service Engineer

    £30000 - £32000 per annum + car allowance and on call: Ashdown Group: A succes...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales & Marketing Co-Ordinator

    £15000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established small company ...

    Day In a Page

    Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

    The acceptable face of the Emirates

    Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk
    Nepal earthquake: One man's desperate escape from Everest base camp after the disaster

    Escape from Everest base camp

    Nick Talbot was sitting in his tent when the tsunami of snow and rock hit. He was lucky to live, unlike his climbing partner just feet away...
    Adopting high fibre diet could dramatically cut risk of bowel cancer, says study

    What happened when 20 Americans swapped diets with 20 Africans?

    Innovative study in the US produces remarkable results
    Blake Lively and 'The Age of Adaline': Gossip Girl comes
of age

    Gossip girl comes of age

    Blake Lively is best known for playing an affluent teenager. Her role as a woman who is trapped forever at 29 is a greater challenge
    Goat cuisine: Kid meat is coming to Ocado

    Goat cuisine

    It's loved by chefs, ethical, low in fat and delicious. So, will kid meat give lamb a run for its money?
    14 best coat hooks

    Hang on: 14 best coat hooks

    Set the tone for the rest of your house with a stylish and functional coat rack in the hallway
    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

    How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

    Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

    Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
    Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

    Aviation history is littered with grand failures

    But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

    Fortress Europe?

    Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
    Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

    Never mind what you're wearing

    It's what you're reclining on that matters
    General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

    Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

    The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
    Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

    Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

    Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
    Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

    Marginal Streets project documents voters

    Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
    Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

    The real-life kingdom of Westeros

    Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?