Campaigns: Food & drink - Stoves' recipe for WI jam festival is a hit

Campaign: The UK's First Ever Real Jam Festival
Client: Stoves/Women's Institute
PR team: Umpf
Timescale: September-November 2010
Budget: £10,000

In 2010 oven manufacturer Stoves became the lead sponsor of the Women's Institute's first ever Real Jam Festival, a competition to find the best amateur jam-maker in the UK. Stoves brought its retained agency, Umpf, on board to maximise the association between it, the WI brand and the festival.


- To lead PR for the two brands, working with the WI's in-house team

- To maximise Stoves' sponsorship of the WI's first ever Real Jam Festival in the form of media coverage

- To ensure the event was a success by encouraging the public to send in home-made jam to the festival. As this was the first festival, 'success' was set at 100 entries.

Strategy and plan

Often in event sponsorship the brand name gets dropped from event name-checks. To tackle this, Umpf tailored part of the campaign towards making sure Stoves was not left out of the Real Jam Festival coverage.

In conjunction with Stoves' product design team, a limited edition strawberry jam-inspired mini-cooker was created. This was sold via the website, advertised in magazines and used as the star prize in the Real Jam Festival.

Umpf positioned jam making as a big trend, rather than a one off-event, and this was backed up with facts such as a 60 per cent increase in the sale of jam preserving jars.

Tapping into the celeb market also helped. Umpf named Kate Moss as a big fan of jam making and suggested that she was to release her own jam range to stimulate interest.

Jam jars, recipe books, jam-making kits and cooking aprons were branded with the Stoves name and sent out to journalists and bloggers to emphasise the partnership between the WI and Stoves.

Facebook and Twitter channels were also created for Stoves. This became a platform for the media and bloggers to communicate with Stoves during the campaign.

Measurement and evaluation

The story generated 66 pieces of media coverage. Highlights included This Morning and The Alan Titchmarsh Show, The Sun, The Daily Telegraph, Beautiful Kitchens and full-page features in 35 regional newspapers.

Since the event, relationships have been built with a number of key food, parenting and lifestyle bloggers including A Modern Mother, He Eat, The Pink Whisk and Domestic Sluttery.


The first ever Real Jam Festival attracted more than 450 entries, which was more than four times the target number.

It was attended by local TV, radio and print, while the winners were featured in their regional media.

The WI has decided to make it an annual fixture and Umpf is now working on the 2011 Real Jam Festival, which Stoves will continue to sponsor.


My first ever PR assignment, around 15 years ago, was a very similar consumer-facing competition with the WI - the Sarson's Super Pickling Competition. It was a nationwide search to find Britain's best homemade pickle makers.

Although times have changed and media channels have become more sophisticated, it is strangely reassuring that similar ideas and executions can still cut through media clutter and drive consumer engagement.

Delivering 66 pieces of branded coverage for Stoves, tripling the amount of anticipated jam-making entries and achieving a successful first foray into social media on such a tight budget should certainly be applauded.

However, it would be interesting to see how a few more campaign ingredients and a little more creativity could have added to the overall campaign results. Jam making, Stoves and the WI are surely a creative match made in heaven and there are a plethora of puns that spring to mind.

This year it will be even more important to help keep the campaign fresh and achieve similar or greater cut-through.

The consistent use of social media as an 'always-on' channel will also need careful consideration in order to make sure the relationships built with the social media communities are harnessed effectively.

If I were the client, I would be very pleased with the results. Perhaps it might want to consider giving the agency additional budget to see what original stand-out creativity can deliver.

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