What mass-market Britain wants from a campaign
A view from Zoe Harris

What mass-market Britain wants from a campaign

Trinity Mirror Solutions' Zoe Harris asks, how good are we really at judging work aimed at audiences so different to us?

How well do we understand mass-market Britain? How severe is the cultural "bubble" London’s medialand exists within?

Turns out the team behind Bisto’s "Spare chair Sunday" campaign is pretty good at thinking outside the bubble. They scooped the Trinity Mirror Modal Britain's Best Award at the Media Week Awards last night.

On a night of industry recognition, Trinity Mirror Solutions wanted to ask the target of your work – the British public – what they really think.

We polled more than 1,000 of our Modal Britain audience to vote on the campaign that had the greatest impact on them in the past 12 months, from a list delivered by Media Week’s Agency of the Year shortlist.

And Bisto’s work came out on top, followed by Sainsbury’s "Sharing the gift of Christmas". But why? What made their campaigns resonate with the British public?

Our research has identified three key areas that made Bisto stand out from the crowd.

1. Empathetic: our audience told us they enjoy emotive ads:

"It cleverly linked an otherwise uninspiring product – gravy – to emotions most people can identify with."

2. Inspiring: people want more than simply being sold to, they want something they can be part of:

"It made me want to get involved – I liked the other ads but none of those made me want to make a difference."

"It helps to restore my faith in humanity and also I think even more highly of Bisto for being part of this project."

3. Authentic: The ads presented an everyday situation that many can relate to:

"This is very memorable and is presented in such a natural way that it really resonates."

As my colleague Tony Regan wrote in Campaign last year, our research into Modal Britain (named after the statistical "mode") showed the emergence of a modern mass market where social class boundaries have melted away to leave an enlarged mainstream with shared attitudes.

Modal Britain is empowered, informed and driven by values, motivated by strongly held beliefs, a desire for betterment and a sense of belonging – everything our readers said they liked about Bisto’s work.

We call this Content with Purpose – content that takes a brand purpose from something that is told, to something that is believed.

While of course it’s difficult for every brand to fulfil these criteria, it should act as a yardstick for any agency whose clients want to reach normal people.

And after all, if Britain is empowered and emotional thanks to an ad for gravy, what’s stopping you?

Zoe Harris is group marketing director and head of invention at Trinity Mirror Solutions.