An Exceedingly Good Idea?

PRE050_05V1_MrKipling_6xBakewell_Slices_OLIt’s one of the most recognisable and most often quoted slogans in British advertising history. In 1967 a new range of cakes and pastries was launched with the tagline “Mr Kipling does make exceedingly good cakes”. But now it seems that Premier Foods is thinking about dropping the iconic phrase in a £20 million makeover of the brand.

An exceedingly good idea, or not? I would say not, and I reckon most consumers would agree with me. The marketing slogan that takes on a life of its own and becomes a recognisable part of the language is a rare thing indeed; you could argue that Ronseal (“It does exactly what it says on the tin”) and Carlsberg (“Probably the best lager in the world”) have managed it, but many more sink without leaving a trace on popular culture.

With a heritage dating back nearly half a century Mr Kipling’s “exceedingly good cakes” have a special place in the hearts and minds of British shoppers, and it’s a brave marketing guru indeed who throws out such heritage.

A recent survey showed that nearly four in five of us regularly use advertising slogans in everyday life. More importantly for the marketeers, 37% of us say we’re more likely to buy a product if we associate it with a catchy tagline.

Rather than dump the phrase completely a better idea would be to update it, refresh it and create something imaginative. Advertising slogans are not set in stone: these days Guinness is sold with the promise “Good things come to those who wait,” but in the past the line has been “Guinness is good for you” and even “My goodness, my Guinness”. All good brands evolve.

With my PR man’s hat on I would flag up the possibility that the comments made yesterday to the Daily Telegraph by Premier Foods chief executive Gavin Darby were an ingenious public relations exercise designed to get us all talking about the Mr Kipling brand before their expensive relaunch. And, oh look! It’s worked. JA

Jez Ashberry was on BBC Radio Lincolnshire on 11th March 2014 talking about “exceedingly good cakes” and other slogans with Melvyn Prior. You can listen again here.