As The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens, we are set for another summer of being inundated with images of cakes, biscuits, pies and bread. The impact that the series has on popular culture is huge. According to research by the Charities Aid Foundation, six million people have been inspired by the programme to take part in charity bake sales in the last year. In addition retail consultancy, Summit, found that the number of online searches for baking related items increased by 116% as interest in the show grew once the trailer had been revealed. The series has also had a great impact on supermarket sales with retailers like Budgens expanding its range to reflect the increased interest in baking. Another area that the Bake Off has massively influenced is imagery.
Elicit and up-close
During each episode viewers are treated to close up images of beautifully made cakes, and this is also reflected on social media. The #baking hashtag on Instagram has over 6 million images, and the majority of those are close up shots of users’ proud bakes. It is clear to see that the more elicit and up-close images are the most popular, with high-definition technology fuelling engagement. One popular Instagram feed is Symmetry Breakfast, which has over 350,000 followers and is renowned for its detailed photography. Another popular Instagram account is Spoon Fork Bacon. The imagery they use on their social media platforms, and on their hugely successful website, is always taken up close, in order to engage with its audiences’ senses.
But it’s not just bloggers and social media stars that are fuelling this trend; brands also use super-sensory imagery in advertising to great effect. M&S for example uses macro-detailing on images of food. The head of brand for food, Nathan Ansell, has said that they wanted to make food the hero in the adverts, and therefore wanted to show all those textures and colours that let viewers really imagine the flavours and smells. In 2014, on the same day that M&S put an advert online featuring a Jaffa Sphere, the product sold out and the retailer had to double production.
Similarly, Lurpak used a style of super-sensory imagery to promote its Cook’s Range. To celebrate the new range of products the company used these close up images of food to evoke space exploration. By using advanced camera angles and techniques viewers are treated to closer than ever, high definition images of food, once again with the aim of celebrating products and produce.
More use of super sensory imagery is a trend we recognised as part of Getty Images’ Creative In Focus, our annual visual trends predictions for 2015 and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down. As we spend an increasing amount of time experiencing things through a screen, it seems we are now looking for imagery that engages all of our senses. A recent report by Ofcom showed that mobile has overtaken desktop for the first time on internet use, therefore showing that advertisers need to be aware that these smaller frames offer the perfect opportunity for a more intimate engagement with their audience.
Imagery that is up-close, personal, and visceral is alluring, and as the success of M&S, Lurpak and the successful Instagram food bloggers show it can also have a huge impact on a brand. With The Great British Bake Off back on our screens we can expect to see more and more brands in the coming months using super-sensory imagery to make the most of the trend and the opportunity to reach its audience in a more engaging way.