Aunt Bessie's meet Mrs Patmore

Challenge

Everybody knows that Aunt Bessie’s Yorkshire puddings are the closest you can get to eating a hug. But while families were happily eating them for Sunday dinner and on special occasions, the brand’s ambition was to ‘make everyday life better’. Our mission was to support Aunt Bessie’s ‘Home Style’ range of special recipe Yorkshires, and encourage families to eat them more often.

Insight

We needed to challenge the deep-rooted belief (bordering on religion) that Yorkshires only go with roast beef on Sunday. How could we convince the nation that Yorkshires could be just as delicious with other meats like roast chicken? We needed the influence of someone with powerful credentials, trusted for their place in traditional British food culture.

Idea

Move over Jamie… the nation’s favourite cook is Downton Abbey’s Mrs Patmore, whose kitchen is the beating heart of the beloved Grantham household. Even better, Downton Abbey’s fictionally located in God’s Own County – the home of Yorkshire puddings. Downton was in its final season, and we were actively seeking a more integrated partner to help us go out on a high. We would licence Mrs Patmore to replace Aunt Bessie’s image on6million packs of Yorkshires.

Implementation

This was the first time an actor’s face had ever been licensed in this way, and was a surprisingly challenging deal to negotiate.

We first had to convince the client to allow us to replace the Aunt Bessie image; then we had to persuade NBC Universal’s Carnival Films (Downton Abbey’s producers) that their upmarket show should appear on packs of Yorkshire puddings. We then negotiated terms to use their IP, brand and Mrs Patmore character. Finally, we had to convince actor Lesley Nicol to use her image on pack, and agree her terms.

On-pack messaging stated “Now with chicken”, and used Mrs Patmore’s Yorkshire vernacular to say “Chicken’s nowt without Yorkshires. Try ’em today!

There was an on-pack competition, to win a Downton dinner at Lord Grantham’s swanky residence, with a chance to meet producers and cast. Pack codes were entered on a microsite, and all entries were rewarded with Downton-inspired recipes.

Finally, the partnership extended with a national 6-sheet campaign featuring Aunt Bessie’s new celebrity ambassador.

Results

Our research revealed that unbranded packs were valued by customers at £1, whereas Downton-branded packs were perceived as worth an average of £1.71 – a huge premium.

The partnership also strengthened Aunt Bessie’s retail position during the campaign.

The idea also inspired our next partnership with the brand’s sponsorship of I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here, where they replaced Aunt Bessie’s traditional bonnet with an Aussie cork hat on millions more packs.

It was brilliantly creative – and an extremely ambitious idea
- and we just had to do it!”

Lorraine Rothwell , Marketing Director, Aunt Bessie’s