It’s Thursday, which can mean only one thing… Bake Off banter dominates the office! And the crew at Tonic Towers are not the only ones excited…

Since the show first airedin 2010, the ratings have seen an enviable spike that has put other TV programmes and events- including the 2014 FIFA World Cup final – to shame. Last year more than two million tuned in after it moved from BBC Two to BBC One.

But what can PR people learn from the show’s incredible success? First of all, there is an intense anticipation and excitement in the run up to the first episode. The air date is left unannounced until the very last minute and a trail of breadcrumbs are left to entice viewers. The timing here is key, which is also crucial for press releases, pitches and media alerts – no matter the subject. The ability to predict the news (based on trends, national events or Government announcements etc), will reap rewards, as will the flexibility to respond quickly to breaking stories and gain a share of voice in a relevant debate.

The theme itself is one of the show’s biggest sellers. Britain is addicted to baking. What’s more, the nation loves a comical British duo and the charms of foodie royalty Mary Berry. A significant ingredient (pun intended!) for a successful PR campaign is the ability to tap into the zeitgeist and build a story about a subject that has won consumer attention and therefore impacts the news agenda.  A casual glance through the TV listings shows just how much food has caught the imagination of a nation.
As always in PR, creativity is essential. Remember the airport worker who baked a cake for his boss and iced his resignation onto it? A picture of the cake was featured around the world and across a range of high reaching news outlets. While it offered light-hearted news fodder for the media, it demonstrated a PR brainwave for the individual – he was resigning to start a cake-baking business and that story gave him a free and significant launch-pad.

Finally, on GBBO it’s all about the people. While cake sells the show, the contestants are the heart and soul of the programme.  Likewise, for a solid media relations plan, a human interest angle is an important component. News is driven by people, and real stories and experiences provide a tool to nurture interest.

For us, the aftermath is arguably one of the most enviable things about GBBO. Everyone seems to be talking about the show the following morning, and social media has played a key role fuelling conversation. The team behind Great British Bake Off uses this interest to their advantage and encourages social engagement. During the 2014 series over 1.1m tweets were posted mentioning Great British Bake Off, compared to 370,000 posts during the 2013 series, showing an impressive 217% increase.

This year, the interest level is showing no slow down, with a reported 1,000 #GBBO tweets per minute posted during the series premiere alone. And, we believe, that doesn’t even include Bake Off mentions that have been adopted into our vernacular, such as our favourites #BakeOffinnuendo #BakeOfffriends #soggybottom #BinGate.

If you’re looking for an agency with credentials in food PR, or want to know how to add social media into your marketing mix, get in touch with The Tonic here.