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How Food & Drink Brands Can Monetise Opportunities in TV Content

A recent study has found that Britons spend more than five hours a week digesting food media. The nation’s fixation on cookery programmes is well established, being a part of viewing pleasure since the 1950s. With 18 days worth of cookery shows broadcast on television each week, but with many viewers saying they’re too short of time to replicate the dishes themselves and seek out the ingredients needed, food and drink brands have a unique opportunity to serve consumers exactly what they need, when they need it. Pushing product messaging online in unison with food and drink broadcasts can help brands cash-in on the nation’s hunger for home-cooking.

For food and drink brands, there isn’t always the luxury of being forewarned when a branded product will be promoted on television. Purposeful product placement is quite rare in cookery programmes, with many shows instead simply mentioning a product (such as an ingredient) without an indication on the specific brand. With this in mind, it’s down to the brands to serve the products mentioned, as it happens, to viewers who might be conducting “where to buy?” searches online. Over the last year, sales in samphire, a sea vegetable, rocketed by 80% at Tesco, thanks to its popularity as an ingredient on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen and Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch. Owed to its affirmed ranking on Google for the ingredient, Tesco was able to monetise on this product mention, ensuring its samphire product was front and centre on the Google SERPs.

Multi-Screening Behaviour

A significant trend since the smartphone revolution took hold, second screen search refers to the action of consumers conducting a search, usually on mobile, whilst also being tuned in to a second screen, in this instance a television. Whilst this isn’t an especially revolutionary concept, executing your digital messaging seamlessly in tune with television broadcasts can be a difficult task to master. Without the use of third party technology, such as mporium IMPACT, brands have to foresee the promotion of a particular product in order to ensure their online store is the first port of call for people looking to purchase the item. As the earlier samphire example denotes, these ingredients can sometimes be niche.

Having conducted an independent analysis of organic search trends, mporium has found irrefutable evidence of the effect TV content has on the behaviour of multi-screening viewers. With over 67% of UK television output being consumed on a multi-screening basis, TV provides a rich source of high-frequency, short-duration consumer interactions – a perfect opportunity for food and drink brands to piggyback off the demand of a mentioned product.

The Great British Bake Off Research

To put into perspective the popularity of food-related programmes and search, mporium conducted independent research into the rise of online traction for the product biscotti, following its spotlight on The Great British Bake Off at the height of its popularity in the summer of 2015. Aired on BBC1, and later repeated a week later, the signature challenge of the show was creating “24 crunchy biscotti.”

As the above graph demonstrates, searches for “biscotti” online were relatively low, until product searches spiked during the week of August 10th; when The Great British Bake Off episode was aired. Analysing a subtitle tool, mporium found that “biscotti” was mentioned 29 times throughout the show, and delving deeper into the Google trend analysis, the duration of this spike peaked between 20:03 and 20:31, the time-frame the signature challenge was taking place.

Monetising Opportunity

The research conducted by mporium into the spike of biscotti sales during The Great British Bake Off, highlights how brands are able to monetise opportunities television provides. If a brand were to automatically trigger and shift its Google AdWords campaign to target the Trigger Word “biscotti” at 20:03 on Wednesday August 12th, the ad would have achieved top paid search ranking during those moments where it mattered. Appearing at the top of search results is particularly crucial for a second-screening audience, where only three paid search results are likely to appear above the fold on a smartphone. Critically, the campaign would have been effective in terms of both cost and reach, as the keyword “biscotti” is not particularly expensive and the campaign would have only been active during a period of peak consumer interest.

Prime-time show or not, product interest naturally peaks in tune with television coverage. If a show mentions a particular food or drink, a consumer is instantly more inspired to seek out the item mentioned, whether it be with the intent to purchase or to find out more. Coupled with the trend of second-screening, it’s down to brands to edge into the top results for the product being mentioned, so the consumer can easily distinguish where the item can be purchased – online, or in a brick and mortar store.


Syncing product messaging online with television content can help food and drink brands distribute more concentrated advertisements at the peak time of consumer interest. Only serving advertisements for products when they’re mentioned on television not only ensures that your messaging is relevant in that exact moment, but can also help ensure assets like paid ads are more cost-effective; only peaking at the moments they really matter. Following this process can allow brands to reap unparalleled benefits, as the example of increased sales of samphire at Tesco demonstrated.

Monetising opportunities in TV content for food and drink brands doesn’t have to be a manual process. With mporium IMPACT, your targeted ad campaigns can be automatically launched exactly when it matters to your consumers. Contact us for more details.  

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