From binned baked Alaskas to stolen custard and questionable snail sculptures, appearing on Bakeoff can be whisk-y business. However, building an association with the beloved British institution can bring sweet rewards for brands.

C4 bought the rights to the show for £75m in a controversial move announced in 2016. After struggling to sell their original £8m sponsorship proposal (including a second series), C4 brokered a joint deal with two baking brands for an estimated £4m in total. According to The QT – the7stars’s proprietary tracker, 7 in 10 Brits had no opinion on the fact that there were two separate sponsors of the show 1. According to the same research, 40% of us didn’t understand why the move was controversial, whilst 13% actually preferred the new line up1.

Dr Oetker and Lyle’s golden syrup were both obvious foodie fits and taking the brave step to sponsor the show in its first year on a commercial channel paid off. According to The Drum, early results were strong for both brands: Lyle’s saw WoW sales growth versus the same period the previous year, along with twice as much traffic to their website as viewers sought recipe inspiration2. Dr Oetker also benefitted, enjoying a sales increase against a fall of 3.8% in the baking ingredients market in the year to the end of March 2017 2. More importantly for the long term, brand health metrics also rose as they saw a 40% increase in spontaneous brand awareness and a 23% increase in signups to ‘We Bake’ – the brand’s social network for bakers 2.

With these success stories combined with a final attracting 11m 3 viewers, it’s no wonder that retail goliath Amazon snapped up a full sponsorship for a reported £5m. Their choice of product, however, did come as a surprise as they promoted their Echo Smart Speaker instead of the new Amazon Pantry proposition with grocery partner Morrisons. Whilst Amazon Pantry initially seems a closer fit, the opportunity to consolidate the Echo’s position as brand leader and normalise shopping by voice is an easy win for Amazon.

GBBO’s C4 debut was the most popular programme in its slot amongst 16 – 34s 4 who are a key growth audience for the Smart Speaker industry – only 10% of Smart Speaker owners are 18 – 24 5. The Echo’s true value lies its ability to make Amazon the most convenient venue for all shopping as consumers bypass brand loyalty for the convenience of ordering by voice. Currently, only 9% of smart speaker owners use the device to order products online, according to a study by YouGov.5 In order to unlock the value of voice search (and grow Amazon Pantry) the business must normalise this behaviour, changing habits ingrained over a lifetime. By partnering with a beloved TV show, with a strong reach from an elusive young audience, Amazon should hope to see shifts in attitudes towards voice search and shopping amongst millennials.

Whilst a £75m investment in a new show was a bold move, C4 has been able to maintain viewing figures and a strong sponsorship offering to brands. By allowing two brands to test the proposition, and prove shifts in sales and brand metrics, they have been able to create a tasty proposition for Amazon.

1 The QT – November 2017 Wave, the7stars