Director of Digital, Media and Technology

YouGov Profiles data suggests M&S would be a good fit as sponsor of the show following its move to Channel 4

After seven series on the BBC, it was revealed this week that the Great British Bake Off is moving to Channel 4. The show has been a massive hit and a cultural phenomenon, dominating the TV ratings and inspiring a new generation of home bakers.

Since the news broke on Monday the show's presenters, Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, have announced they'd leave the show and there remains a deal of uncertainty around whether the programme's judges, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, will make the move from the BBC. With such upheavals behind the scenes there is no guarantee that all of the Bake Off's 12 million viewers will follow the programme to Channel 4.

The migration to a commercial channel opens the door to a great many commercial tie-ups that were simply not possible with the show on the BBC. These range from being the programme's main sponsor with ad-spots at the opening and closing credits and each side of the breaks, featuring branded products within the tent, and selling Bake Off merchandise (pots, pans books etc).

Brand tie-ups

Each day we monitor the viewing habits of our panellists which we can then analyse against thousands of other individual data points in order to build a full picture of a programme's audience or a brand's customer base. This means we can assess which brands the show's viewers are more likely to use and engage with.

Looking at the programme's current viewers who enjoy it on the BBC, YouGov Profiles data shows where the opportunities could lie for brands wanting a slice of the Bake Off pie. Below are the brands that Bake Off viewers use disproportionally more than the public as a whole.

Marks & Spencer is a strong presence in the top brands. In total, 46% consider themselves current customers of its high street outlets while 26% are customers of the chain's supermarket. This demonstrates how M&S could use a sponsorship of the Great British Bake Off to have maximum effect – both offering Bake Off-inspired kitchenware and selling the ingredients for the recipes. Such a tie-up would likely expand the age of its current customer base.

The other brands on the list would also be natural fits for a Bake Off sponsorship. Amazon also scores very highly among the programme's viewers and with the launch of Amazon's food delivery service, there is an option of ordering all the ingredients for that week's technical challenge at the tap of a button. Like M&S, John Lewis has a deep reach into the ABC1s, while Bosch and Lakeland make sense when it comes to the hardware needed for baking.

Some uncertainties but many opportunities

Naturally, the move to Channel 4 represents a significant upheaval to the programme, and the departure of Mel and Sue shows that it will not arrive at its new home unaltered. We still don’t know who will present the show, who will be its judges, whether the move to a commercial station will lead to changes in format and how many of its viewers will migrate across from the BBC.

However, despite these uncertainties the programme’s brand at the moment remains strong and represents a great opportunity for a commercial partner. I would not be surprised to turn on Channel 4 next year and notice that it isn't just the Great British Bake Off – it's Marks & Spencer's Great British Bake Off.

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