Jaffa Cakes reignites an ancient dispute in return to TV

We all know it's a cake.

Jaffa Cakes: promotes being what you want to be
Jaffa Cakes: promotes being what you want to be

McVitie's Jaffa Cakes is once again throwing open its biscuit versus cake conundrum in the brand's first standalone TV campaign in 15 years. (But it's a cake.)

The spot, "Be what you want to be", was created by TBWA\London and depicts a shopkeeper who, after debating the product's culinary status, has the realisation he can fulfil his dreams.

He makes the declaration, "If a cake can be a biscuit, I can be king of the roller palace", before the store transforms into a disco and he begins dancing on skates. The ad ends with the strapline: "Be what you want to be."

The campaign will premiere tomorrow (26 February) during Channel 4's Gogglebox. It will also be amplified by social media partnerships, an AR digital experience, PR and influencer content. Media was planned and bought by Manning Gottlieb OMD.

The ad was created by Dan Kenny and Duncan Brooks, and directed by Jim Hosking through The Sweetshop.

The idea for the work is that McVitie's Jaffa Cakes is a playful snack that flouts conventions, with the product arguably resembling a biscuit more than a cake – although Jaffa Cakes were definitely ruled to be a cake in a 1991 court case, thus making them exempt from VAT.

This campaign is part of a year of innovation for Jaffa Cakes. In January, cherry and passion fruit flavours were launched, with more new products and flavours planned across the year.

Jaffa Cakes appeared on TV in 2014 as part of the broader McVitie's campaign "Sweeet" by Grey London. In the campaign, various McVitie's products were shown transforming into cute animals as the packs were opened, with Jaffa Cakes personified by a tarsier – a small primate, similar to a monkey.

More recently in 2019, Jaffa Cake Nibbles featured in a spot with Joey Essex and a pygmy goat. In the ad, by The & Partnership, the goat screeches "Whaaaat?" whenever she sees the Nibbles.

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