Blog: The Great British Bake Off effect on sales and searches

(c)BBC/Love Productions/Tom Graham

It’s a sad day for the country. Our Mary has said goodbye to Bake Off, claiming a fond ‘farewell to soggy bottoms.’

The judge and national treasure has stated that her decision is out of loyalty to the BBC ‘as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one.’

Mary, you’ll never know how much I’ll miss your facial expressions.

This week, I thought I’d take a look at how Bake Off phenomena has affected search and purchase intent and how brands are (or could be) making the most of it.

Every now and then, a trend, fad or - in this case - a show, comes along that brands and their marketing teams see before sitting back and rubbing their hands together in glee.

Take, for example, our recent obsession with coconut oil which was largely down to endorsement from high profile names such as Sienna Miller and Joe Wicks (The Body Coach). In 2008, Bodybuildingwarehouse.co.uk founder Kieran Fisher said there was next to no demand for the product.

Eight years later, and the business reported a 67% increase in sales of its coconut oil in just three months at the height of the trend. The Duchess of Cambridge is another good example. She wears something, the product sells out, the shop rejoices.

Businesses selling baking ingredients and equipment have a lot to thank Bake Off for.

During last year’s series of GBBO, Hobbycraft saw sales of cake ribbons and frills rise by a staggering 3,514%.

Use of salted caramel in several of the contestants’ bakes resulted in sales of Waitrose’s Homebaking Salted Caramel Flavouring increase by 33% compared to the previous year.

Maximum sales, minimum marketing.

Web search data shows that the Bake Off not only sparks more interest in baking products but also drives purchase intent, with more consumers clicking through to online stores.

When the BBC switched use of its electric mixers from KitchenAid models to Kenwood’s kMix, there was a 12% increase in searches for Kenwood mixers online but a 14% fall in searches of KitchenAid.

This shows that brands must be quick to ride these trends whilst they last. Using the ‘free’ exposure to maximise sales, marketing and visibility is absolutely key.

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The importance of being reactive to people talking about your product or industry is further highlighted with the episode of Bake Off that featured ice cream makers.

Opportunities such as the Bake Off give fantastic opportunities for smaller businesses to market themselves.

Searches for ice cream makers reached a record number for the entire year on that day. Interest rose by 45% compared with the day before but was short-lived; dropping by 48% the following day. (Source: Summit).

If ice cream maker manufacturers and retailers weren’t all over social media at that point, I imagine there’d have been several people kicking themselves.

So you might be reading this and thinking, ‘that’s all jolly well and good, but I sell something that I don’t think is ever going to be massively popular or used as a ‘trend’’. Can I just stop you there.

Double denim made a comeback and people like quinoa. Never lose hope. 

Also, don’t forget that opportunities such as the Bake Off give fantastic opportunities for smaller businesses to market themselves. Thanks to the Bake Off, one engineer is enjoying a boom in business as eager bakes ask him to restore their vintage Kenwood Chef food mixers.

And, as I’ve seen (and tasted), coffee shops and bakeries across the country are attracting the programme’s fans by showcasing their own attempts at each week’s showstopper or technical challenge.

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And Tesco (ok, not a small business I know), are a perfect example of how if all else fails, there’s always the good old shoe-horn technique.

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What did you think of the search and sales side of Bake Off this week? You can always catch up on BBC iPlayer if you haven't yet seen it!

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