Let Them Eat Cake: What Can the Great British Bake Off Teach Us About Marketing

By Kelly Wright

As The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens, we are set for another summer of baking madness. The impact that the series has on popular culture is huge. But what can a show about cake teach us about marketing?

Keep it real

The GBBO contestants are real people with real lives we can relate to – the retired primary school teacher from Yorkshire, the university student from London, or the hairdresser mum from Cardiff. They’re just like us, which makes us engage with them. Add in a teaspoon of unscripted dialogue, and a pinch of natural emotions, and you’ve got a recipe for success. In short, GBBO is authentic – just like your marketing should be. Give the contrived, one-shoe-fits-all approach a miss and focus on making your brand personable. Personalise your messaging, speak in your audience’s language and make your tone approachable and engaging.

A picture paints a thousand words

However tasty a cake may be, it needs to look good to really get the judges and the audience going. No sunken middles or soggy bottoms allowed. People eat with their eyes, and it’s the same with your marketing too. If done well, visual advertising can make an impact that will imprint your brand on your audience’s mind and leave them hungry for more.

Believe in your brand

If someone said you were about to watch 12 weeks of people baking cakes and be emotionally invested in rising dough, you’d probably scoff on your biscuit crumbs. But the last series peaked at 14.5 million viewers an episode, making it one of the most popular shows on TV today. This goes to show, there’s no such thing as a boring product, service or project. It’s all about how you sell it. The proof is in the pudding.

The Most Marketable Olympians

By Kelly Wright

Fresh from Team GB’s greatest ever haul at an Olympic Games, executives from the world’s biggest brands are scrambling to sign athletes up to endorse their brands. Here are our pick of the athletes making the podium for marketability.

Bronze – Jess Ennis-Hill

Ennis-Hill’s heptathlon gold in London 2012 made her the poster girl for UK sport. Since then she has only enhanced her standing by returning from the birth of her first child to reclaim her world title and grab silver in Rio. Ennis-Hill’s squeaky clean public image has earned endorsements with Omega, BP, Santander and Adidas. Now seen as a ‘supermum’, Ennis-Hill is branching out into more family centric brands including Vitality and P&G’s ‘Thank You Mum’ campaign. Her image is likely to mature, rather than fade, over time.

Silver – Usain Bolt

Who else? Bolt is a brand with an international following. His infectious personality, laid-back charm and penchant for showmanship endears him to audiences and sponsors alike, such as Puma, Virgin Media, Visa and Nissan. But what next for the fastest man on earth? Bolt may have retired from Olympic competition but don’t think we’ve seen the last of him. Being the first person to win the triple triple means he heads into retirement with his stock at an all-time high. For now, he has trademarked his name and his signature ‘lightning bolt’ pose, and even has his own emoji. For the future, he has talked about moving into broadcasting and clothes designing, so watch this space.

Gold – Laura Trott

With her blonde pigtails and charismatic personality, Laura Trott is a sponsor’s dream. Already popular after London 2012, Rio has catapulted her into the big time. Now the most decorated British female Olympian ever aged only 24, her future competitive and commercial potential is vast.  Already boasting big bucks sponsorship deals with Adidas and Prudential, she has recently partnered with Halfords to launch her own range of bikes. She can also regularly be seen promoting brands who send her freebies on Twitter. Her relationship with fellow Team GB cyclist and six-time gold medalist Jason Kenny has seen them mooted as the Posh and Becks of cycling. While Kenny prefers to keep a low profile away from the track, Trott looks set to reign supreme as the golden girl of UK sport.