Hovis, Use Your Loaf.

One of the main stories on Marketing Week today was that Hovis are 'fostering a more lifestyle-oriented positioning through social media to elevate bread from being a carrier of fillings to the "wholesome" role it plays in peoples lives'

Elevate bread? Elevate bread?

Jesus wept.

Putting aside the serious question as to how this revelation actually constitutes news in one of the country's foremost marketing publications, this seems like just another depressing example of a client being taken on a social media wild goose chase.

You can read the whole article here if you can be bothered but the gist is that posts like 'Mum's dinnertime rules [No mobile phones at the dinner table!]' are hoped to illicit a stronger emotional and nostalgic reaction from fans, pushing them to share these posts with others.

To put it into some sort of context, Hovis currently has the grand total of 2,808 followers on Twitter.
Now that's not exactly a massive audience or demographic when viewed in pure propensity-to-purchase-bread terms is it?.

I'm sure every one one of those followers is no doubt hooked on the fun and wholesome chat lighting up their social media world but in the grand scheme of things this activity is little more than dust in the wind.

God knows how much time, effort and money must have gone into this re-positioning charade, but preaching to the converted to get them to share more posts really won't move the needle when it comes to impacting on things that matter like, er, sales.

Hovis is a great brand with a history of great advertising. But taking this kind of misplaced, desperate approach seriously undermines their credibility.

I'd wager that there is no shortage of better, more relevant, interesting 'lifestyle-oriented content' on this thing called the internet. Does anybody that commissioned this activity really, really believe in the heart of hearts that people will seek out and gravitate towards Hovis as an authority in this area.

It's bread for fuck's sake. Not Time Out.

In the grand scheme of all the many things in people's lives, it's a low interest category.

No amount of well-written Facebook Posts and 140 character tweets is ever going to change the fact that most people don't really give that much of a shit about bread.

I give you, Exhibit A, the fiasco of the unsuccessful and long-since binned Kingsmill Confessions campaign as prima facie evidence that people do not want to engage or interact with a company that makes things you can make sandwiches out of.

Just because you can have a social media presence, doesn't necessarily mean that you should.

If I was them, I'd ditch all this nonsense and just put the money into sampling instead.

Who knows? Getting people to actually try the product might just be more commercially successful than getting people to share 'wholesome' content with each other.


  1. Kingsmill Confessions did achieve SOME audience engagement. A chap commented below one of the YouTube videos to confess "I wipe the underside of my balls with Kingsmill Gold - it's very refreshing".

    You can't put a price on that.

  2. Haha! I'd be tempted to share that...

  3. Can you smell that? No, not the oven fresh bread. That's the smell of MONEY. Or maybe both. This digital engagement thing is the best thing to ever happen to a talentless writer hack like me. 140 characters is just enough to talk about something no one gives a shit about and for me to get paid for it. Forget about robbing a bank. Just open up a digital shop and start counting the money. Who gives a flying fuck about sales? The only sale that's happening is me buying my brand new Ferrari baby. Oh yeah. Exploiting stupid brand babblers and digiconversationalists on the twittersphere is what keeps me going every morning. Well, no. It's the cash, stacked as high as the bullshit I'm making every day!


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