What Can Marketers Expect from the New Great British Bake Off?
Now you don’t need me to tell you how popular the Great British Bake Off has been since first hitting our screens in 2010.
This week marked the beginning of Series 8, at the dawn of a new era on Channel 4 having established itself as something of a cultural phenomenon over at the BBC down the years.
Given its popularity, it’ll come as no surprise that people have been getting excited, despite some backlash in response to the move to Channel 4 and the loss of popular presenters Mel & Sue.
Some of the show’s loyal fans have also been particularly upset by Mary Berry’s decision to stand down as a judge after producers announced they were upping sticks.
Nevertheless, it’ll still be interesting to see the response the new series gets, and more importantly, how marketers might be able to capitalise based on information from previous years.
The ‘bake off effect’
There’s no doubt that as past series have inspired many a kitchen makeover across the UK, marketing teams much like ourselves have sat up and taken notice.
This article makes reference to a 33% increase in sales of Waitrose Homebaking Salted Caramel Flavouring following its use in several bakes over the course of Series 7.
It also makes reference to a staggering 3,514% hike in the sales of Hobbycraft cake ribbons too.
But what can else can we learn about The Bake Off Effect via Google Trends?
What does search data suggest?
Channel 4 may be expecting their ratings to tank, but search interest for the show has healthily increased year-on-year since the show began in 2010.
Every series generally starts in late August and finishes in October.
Unsurprisingly, search interest spikes with the airing of every series.
However, each spike is more prominent year-on-year – suggesting that the GBBO following is probably in growth.
So, Channel 4 might not have anything to worry about after all!
But we wanted to get a little deeper with our analysis.
So, how is the show impacting our behaviour?
For starters, search interest for ‘Bake off recipes’ spikes with each rendition of the show.
It reached an all-time high around Series 3 and has been pretty consistent ever since.
So, as expected, the show has sparked people’s interest in baking at home.
The ‘bingate’ scandal
Remember the infamous ‘bingate’ incident in Series 5 (2014)?
That certainly got people talking…
Fans of the show will be only too familiar with this episode.
In an act of stroppiness, Series 5 contestant Iain, felt he had no option but to scrape the remains of his melted Baked Alaska into the bin, after fellow contestant Diana, removed it from the freezer as it was setting.
Viewers cried sabotage at the sorry sight of the sloppy Baked Alaska, prompting scandalous outrage across the internet, as Iain ended up being dumped from the show, much like he ended up dumping his ruined Baked Alaska.
Still though, it didn’t put people off trying to make one of their own at the time…
Paul’s ‘Bread Lion’
The following year saw the birth of another phenomenon that has become synonymous with the show.
People were amazed by Paul’s sculpted bread lion in Series 6, yet they were once again wrapped up in scandal when the final arrived and he didn’t win.
The bread lion was so popular that people even began searching for it again the following year.
Cake Recipes vs Bread Recipes
We then looked at trying to segment the Bake Off audience somehow.
For this we needed to draw comparison from two different search terms.
It would appear that we’re a nation of sweet-tooths’, with far more people searching for Bake Off-inspired cake recipes whilst the show is on our screens.
That's kind of interesting, right?
The Battle of the Mixers
Search behaviour aside, if there’s one thing you need to know about the Bake Off audience it’s that they don’t like change.
Ahead of Series 6, the show’s producers notoriously replaced the beloved Kitchenaid mixers with the Kenwood kMix – a more expensive model.
Reports around the time suggested fans didn’t respond well to this break of tradition, and this is somewhat reflected when you look at search trends.
First and foremost, it’s interesting to see that despite the introduction of the kMix in 2015, search volume for the term ‘Kitchenaid’ is significantly higher throughout the show’s existence.
In fact, search volume for the term ‘Kenwood kmix’ is virtually non-existent in comparison.
The reason for this?
You could argue that people might be more familiar with the brand, which is also famously used by Nigella Lawson.
But you could also argue that Bake Off fans have stayed loyal to the retro Kitchenaid - which until 2015 was one of the distinguishing features of the show.
Search interest related to the Kitchenaid generally begins to rise towards the back-end of both series 6 and series 7, spiking again in the weeks prior to Christmas.
Could Bake Off therefore be providing fans with a little bit of Christmas gift inspiration?
Then there was THAT lipstick moment in the last series.
Female fans of the show had been raving about Candice’s choice of lipstick throughout the course of Series 7.
She breezed her way into the final after dazzling the public for weeks with the various dramatic choices of lipstick shades.
Then came the moment that some people had been longing for, as presenter Mel reapplied Candice’s lipstick mid-bake.
Eagle-eyed viewers finally got a close-up glimpse of the actual lipstick – identified as a product of cosmetics brand Younique.
Just take a look at this…
You can see the direct correlation right there.
It’s hard to know what caused the sudden uplift for ‘Younique lipstick’ mid-2015.
Younique happens to be a US-based makeup retailer, and given that this is UK search data only, one can only assume that the brand might not have been available on these shores until then.
I for one reckon that the spike in early 2016 probably has something to do with Valentine’s day.
But then again I could be wrong.
Here’s what Latitude Director Rick Lamb reckons anyway…
“GBBO follows in the long tradition of destination TV shows driving cultural interest. BBC shows like Dragon’s Den and The Apprentice have at times proved the extent to which people truly use their second screen as a research tool to enhance their viewing.
Even prior to having another device glued to our hands, cookery shows have influenced what we buy. Delia Smith’s How to Cook book and series in 1998 was credited with an additional 1.3 million egg sales a day in the UK and a boom in omelette pans, so related brands and retailers should pay special attention to any particular ingredients, recipes and implements if they want to make the most of their moment in the sun.
While the move to Channel 4 opens up advertising within the show itself, there is nothing stopping clever tactical advertisers online from tying in display, social and paid search ads to the times, searches and contexts when interest is likely to peak.”