Aunt Bessie’s & I’m A Celebrity: A truly integrated sponsorship

Challenge: Think of Aunt Bessie’s and we’d bet, like most people, the first thing you think of are Yorkshire Puddings (or Roast Potatoes). In fact they shift more than 5 million each week. However people don’t realise that the brand’s product portfolio spans meals, desserts and vegetables.

We needed to plug this knowledge gap and raise awareness of the entire range. However, the brand’s traditional approach of reinvesting a percentage of sales into a steady TV plan made it difficult to really cut through with, category share of voice at just 5% (based on planned spend in TV spot). If we were going to hit their ambitious sales target then we’d need to convince the brand to abandon established practice and embrace a new approach.


Take the brand’s entire marketing budget for the year and invest it in a single platform to showcase the entire range. In fact, we’d secure ownership of the country’s biggest TV property, I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here, delivering an enormous 21% share of market GRPs.

Iceland relinquished the sponsorship rights after nearly a decade represented a brilliant moment of serendipity. However, we still needed to convince both the client and ITV that the two were perfect partners. So we designed the most integrated sponsorship in history spanning all touchpoints from TV, product placement, mobile, online, in-store, on-pack competitions and even retailer vans.

Our three-year sponsorship was built on a long-term vision for the Aunt Bessie’s brand. The TV show alone provided us with the opportunity to showcase 22 products to more than 29 million people in just three weeks over their peak sales period in Q4, with housewives seeing the idents on average more than 60 times, gaining an amazing 32% spontaneous awareness in year 1. Idents starring the brand’s well-loved characters – Margret & Mabel – were written in to add value to the viewer experience (76% of those surveyed agreed it was a great fit). The two would be seen ‘glamping’ in the jungle either side of each break and would promote a different product from the range. Their activities would playfully match the action in the jungle. For example, whenever the celebs were going without dinner for the night Margaret and Mabel would be seen wafting the smell of a full roast dinner into the camp.

This level of integration extended far beyond TV with a full takeover of I’m A Celeb… properties online and a dedicated Aunt Bessie’s game on the ITV companion app which racked up more than 1.8m plays. On social channels, our two lovely ladies provided live commentary that got viewers retweeting. We also secured exclusive access to the show’s stars for our twitter feed and broadcast an exclusive behind the scenes interview to followers of the show.

Finally, we used one of the greatest tools at our disposal to promote the partnership: the products themselves. With 35 million products and 28 million supermarket shoppers walking the aisles each week, we provided ITV with a media equivalent of £4m worth of exposure. We connected on-pack promotion to TV with a competition that received 160k entries- the most entries in the ITV’s history- with the winner declared by Mabel live during the show’s final


Prior to the sponsorship we were down on the growth target by -25% but the end result was incredible. By the time Ant & Dec announced Vicky Pattison the winner, we were tracking 10% up YoY, even with less opportunity for consumers to buy products than the previous year due to a decline in distribution. Econometrics analysis proved an uplift in sales contribution from media from 1.6% pre-sponsorship to an amazing 7.2% during.

We also saw significant gains across a number of brand metrics including intention to buy for roast dinners (+5%) and weekday meals (+7%), which has been identified by the business as the biggest growth driving opportunity.

Key Points

Lorraine Rothwell, Marketing Director, Aunt Bessie's

This sponsorship has proved perfect at driving awareness and trial of our product portfolio, some of which wouldn’t have previously justified bespoke TV spots. It’s also had a hugely positive impact on all our brand KPIs.