Renewing growth through creative positioning and a stand-out social media strategy

Quick Results

About the Client

Loved by the nation for over 140 years, Horlicks is a traditional household staple. Horlicks was originally developed to aid infants and those who were ill and since then has been provided for world war soliders and olympic athletes when requiring strength and energy. 

However, being part of a declining ‘hot malted drinks’ category in tandem with an ageing audience and strong connotations as a sleep aid, Horlicks had seen a recent decline in sales performance. 

Business Challenge

We had the challenge to bring this warm, household name back to the top of it’s sector. Horlicks is renowned for being a mellow bedtime drink, but we knew the products had much more to offer and a wider demographic was awaiting them. 

The new Horlicks campaign had four key objectives it had to fulfil to help the brand achieve its goals:

  • Move away from “sleep” association. 
  • Target a younger audience.
  • Engage this audience with the new brand positioning.
  • Drive sales through the Increase frequency of product usage.

Identifying and Tapping into New Audiences

Following on from 2020's 'Moments to Share' digital activation, data collection and campaign learning indicated that associating 'Horlicks' with everyday moments resonated with the younger demographic.

Aligning Horlicks consumption with everyday moments sets the groundwork for considering the product in a new light. With a clear consumer revelation, 'nighttime' should no longer be regarded as the only consumption moment. 

Further to this product positioning piece, we were able to identify key areas of discussion topics, including humour and the desire to share real-life stories.

Millennials in the UK (age 24-45) was concluded as the demographic to target through Kantar data identifying this as a ‘subtle interest’ amongst this age range.  

With this information we were keen to craft a campaign that further refined the messaging, focusing engagement around the life stage.

Horlicks tasked us with tapping into this audience and converting their interest into sales. One way we approached this was with creative positioning, introducing “blunder” moments relatable to a new audience. 

Overall we achieved thousands of "Time For A Horlicks" moments submitted by the audience with the brand benefiting from a marked increase in sales, including a 10% increase in buyers.

Social Media Strategy

Our team brought the ‘Time for a Horlicks’ creative to life across social platforms, re-enforcing the campaign message at various stages of the buyer journey. 

In keeping with our new target audience, we utilised youthful ‘meme’ formats to capture attention and encourage sharing.

We also amplified through ads targeted at millennials and implemented growth hacking. A campaign mechanic which required the audience to tag friends and family, who were likely in the same demographic as themselves.

Like any campaign, there were challenges. Mid-campaign, boosted social posts were suddenly being rejected by Facebook. We believed this to be due to the competition mechanic. 

To counteract this, we decided to divert the entire paid media budget to ads instead. Whilst this meant the social posts relied solely on organic engagement, we were still able to amplify the campaign creative and drive competition entries through dark ads. 

Despite this restriction, we exceeded all social KPIs and created a significant impact with this campaign. This included 10,720 clicks and a 804,819 reach. 


The campaign was a complete success with 6,932 entries and 18,176 engagements, we had once again exceeded all social KPI’s. 

‘Time For A Horlicks’ was developed to capture the attention of a younger audience and provide a relatable, funny moment that positioned Horlicks as a brand that understands the modern struggles of today’s family. Through new meme formats, partnerships with emerging household names and clever amplification were just a few of the ways we were able to achieve phenomenal sales increases and social media success. 

The brand didn’t just see increase in engagement, there was a marked increase in sales too:

- Penetration +10%
- Spend +9%
- Buyers +10%
- Volume +10%

The results of the campaign speak for themselves:

- 5,844 entries (+484% vs KPI of 1000)
- 804,819 reach (+0.7% vs KPI of 800,000)
- 10,720 clicks (+34% vs KPI of 8,000)
- 42,081 page views (+110% vs KPI 20,000)
- 729,000 total influencer audience size
- 100% completion rate among gifted influencers

Horlicks were so delighted with the campaign results, they extended the campaign for a 2nd phase over Christmas, with equally impressive results:

- 6,932 entries (+285% vs KPI of 1,800)
- 18,176 engagements (+14% vs KPI of 16,000)