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3 takeaways from last week’s GBBO drama

Sep 21, 2016
3 takeaways from last week’s GBBO drama

The shocking and unforeseen announcement that Britain’s most-loved show will be moving to Channel 4 left some viewers claiming the news was ‘worse than Brexit’.

The Huffington Post’s hope that ‘Breadxit doesn’t mean Breadxit’ seems as naive as it’s political forerunner, with the announcement that Mel and Sue would not be ‘going with the dough’ further confirmation of the disaster.

One week on, as the icing sugar begins to settle, marketing commentators are beginning to speculate on what the move could mean for the GBBO brand, how sponsors could use the show’s success for commercial advantage, and what the future holds for fans of the show. Here we round up the three most important takeaways from last week’s drama.

Beware the wrath of your consumer

As a marketer, keeping your consumer on side is vital. Whether they’re voting with their eyes or their pockets, brand loyalty is valuable currency in an age of instant gratification and overchoice.

When Love Productions decided to take their Bake Off brand away from the BBC, did they predict such a furious backlash from their fans? With the first episode of the 2016 series drawing 11.2 million viewers, that’s a lot of unhappy customers…

PR Week have argued that ‘change can rejuvenate a flagging brand but altering something so well loved has a good chance of leaving you with a soggy bottom [-] It’s a lesson to pretty much any brand that wants to mix up a winning formula.’

Considering the potential response to your plans for a brand shake-up is an important way to avoid backlash from your consumers, with alternatives like making incremental changes offering a gentler way to implement change.

Brand associations are valuable

Despite the outrage of the previous week, it is likely that when the first Channel 4 GBBO is aired in 2017, the commercial value of the move will outweigh the initial negativity.

For Marketing Week, ‘the opportunity to advertise against GBBO for the first time is likely to prove a mouthwatering prospect for a whole suite of brands.’

YouGov research suggests that M&S is the leading candidate at present, with their offering fitting well with the image of GBBO.  Quintessentially British with a hint of self-indulgent luxury, trusted by millions and renowned for their mouth-watering marketing campaigns, it should come as little surprise to those well-versed in the food marketing scene.

Marketing Week argues ‘any sponsor that enables people to find products to help them bake will work if they are chosen in a meaningful and useful way that adds to the consumer experience.’

Though it is too early to tell which brands will join the Bake Off frenzy, there is little doubt as to the value of such an association. Piggybacking your marketing on the success of shows like GBBO can bring big rewards for those brands that can afford to do so, and only time will tell who will emerge as winners from this particular venture.

Retain your assets

Perhaps the biggest loser in all of this is the BBC. In a time of crisis for the public broadcaster, to lose one of it’s flagship shows is a huge blow to the corporation.

Marketing Week argued in it’s ‘5 things that mattered this week’ that ‘at a time when the publicly-funded broadcaster is under pressure from the Government to make savings, the news is further evidence that the purchasing power of the BBC may be on the wane.’

The Drum attributes GBBO’s success ‘largely to the unrivalled platform-building and marketing capabilities provided with the BBC’. If marketers are to draw lessons from this, it is that holding on to your assets should be a top priority. Promoting your strengths is crucial in a competitive environment, and emphasising the value you bring to a campaign beyond monetary contribution could prove important.

All puns aside, the Bake Off has proven to be a winning formula thus far - backed up by it’s astronomical viewing figures and capacity to influence related market sales. For marketers there are a lot of lessons to be learned from this success and the drama of this week, yet onlookers can only hope the show’s own brand will take heed of the insights others are drawing from the tale.


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