Will the #GBBO brand banter subside on Channel 4?

So that's it. Last night, baking fans wept as the BBC aired the Great British Bake Off for the final time.

Brandjacking saw new heights in the latest series but will it transfer to C4? asks David Morgan
Brandjacking saw new heights in the latest series but will it transfer to C4? asks David Morgan

No more Mary Berry and no more jeopardy over the dreaded soggy bottom. At least not until it starts again, with new hosts and more adverts on Channel 4.

Sponsorship deals for the next series on Channel 4 have been speculated to hit up to £8m but for the time being, brands have had to rely on good old fashioned social media hijacking of the #GBBO to pledge their allegiance.

As social fads go, it’s been entertaining to watch.

Data from Brandwatch has shown that the show’s infamous innuendos drive the largest spikes in traffic, and brands have been quick to jump on these.

So what were the most memorable social media hashtag hijacks from GBBO 2016?

Sweet brand Candy Kittens was quick to capture the nation’s mood, posting a picture of a distraught-looking Rylan Clark-Neal on the eve of last night’s final.

The live tweeting throughout the final drew comparisons with One Direction before their split and poked fun at Mary Berry suggesting that Paul Hollywood was a traitor for not staying with the Beeb.

Meanwhile, Innocent Drinks enjoyed a healthy dose of innuendo throughout the series, paying particular attention to Candice’s infamous "jugs" comment during episode 2.

The London Fire Brigade undertook some classic newsjacking to back up Mary Berry’s warnings in a magazine interview about the danger of chip pan fires.

So why is the Bake Off such a popular trend for PRs to jump on?

I’d argue that there are few television shows that truly capture the patriotic spirit of the British public like the Bake Off.

Tea pots, bunting, Mel and Sue’s puns; it evokes feel-good feelings and positive brand associations.

Unlike Big Brother and X Factor, which have attracted their share of controversy over the years, the wholesome Bake Off has kept its nose clean.

Except, of course, for the infamous ‘bin-gate’ of 2014 when the nation stood aghast as Ian accused Diana of sabotaging his baked Alaska.

It’s hard to disagree with Innocent Drinks' assessment over Twitter last night: "Bake Off is, without a doubt, the nicest programme on television. A beacon of positivity & friendship in a sometimes cruel world."

Now that the format of the Great British Bake Off is in the hands of Channel 4 – albeit without many of its best known faces – there is a new horizon of opportunity for marketing and PR.

Love Productions, makers of the Bake Off, hasn’t revealed many details yet about the new format, other than that it’ll begin with a celebrity special for Stand up to Cancer.

And Channel 4 has remained equally tight lipped.

But it’s likely that product placement could feature, as well as competitions to win tickets to live screenings or meet the contestants themselves.

As for whether the social media brand banter will continue with the show in its new commercial home, only time will tell.

But I wouldn’t be surprised if the buzz sinks faster than a misjudged soufflé.

David Morgan is chairman of The Mission Marketing Group

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