Great British Bake Off returned to the screens last night and, with last year’s average audience comprising more than 12 million people, there is huge opportunity for brands to increase their profile, sales and reach, according to Chris Baldwin, director of consumer programmes at Protravel, part of employee benefits and rewards company Sodexo.
The BBC has strict rules on using its intellectual property when not licensed to do so, but with some creative thinking there are opportunities for many brands to harness the theme and emotion of the competition to maximise sales and boost their profile, Baldwin says.
Baldwin offers five top tips on how brands can take advantage of this culinary phenomenon:
With boasts of being “best baker” peaking among friends, colleagues and families, brands can expand this conversation into a social media led competition. Invite consumers to share pictures of their best bake or send in their magic recipes, with one winner being announced in line with each week’s episode. This is organic material for a website and provides great social media content too.
Join the #GBBO conversation
Between the 2014 and 2015 series, the use of #GBBO on Twitter increased by 217%, and this is only set to continue this year. Brands must join the conversation, use the hashtag and run parallel, complimentary campaigns that reflect the sentiment and excitement of the programme among its audience. Spending money on promoting tweets, posts and pictures across social media platforms will increase the exposure amongst the online noise.
GBBO is not just a chance to increase sales of baking products, but provides brands with an opportunity to reach a target audience which is aligned with the show’s viewers. Hosting competitions to win baking lessons or afternoon tea experiences can change consumer behaviour by offering them something additional to the product in question. Using the “Bake Off hype” to maximise interest in such campaigns will promote the product to a larger audience.
Pick a partnership
Partnering with well-known individuals who have a connection to the baking world is guaranteed to be of interest to both the consumer and the celebrity, who will also be looking to piggyback off the series’ popularity.
Opportunities beyond baking
The opportunities for brand exposure beyond cooking related products are widespread and, often, not immediately obvious. In 2015, a jacket worn by Mary Berry sold out within the hour long show; brands with similar items did well to quickly join the buzz and invest in ways to promote their products whilst the weekly buzz peaked. Brands should consider how their product offering could be reflected in the wider show, from fashion, to home décor to horticultural features.
Chris Baldwin is director of consumer programmes at Protravel, part of employee benefits and rewards company Sodexo. Protravel helps agencies come up with prizes for competitions and reward programmes for TV and radio programmes as well as retail and supermarket brands.