(Brand) ambassadors, you are spoiling us

07 Oct, 15

Editor Philippa Turrell queries whether the kitchen industry is over-subscribed

As another series of Great British Bake Off draws to a close, it’s terrifying for two reasons. One, you remember how many hours you’ve dedicated to watching cakes collapse and bread fail to have the correct crumb. Two, there are another three brand ambassadors unleashed into the marketplace.

In the home market, you can’t move for what once was a celebrity endorsement and is now arguably a brand ambassador (although that can be non-celebs too, just to add some confusion). In fact, what might have started in the kitchen industry with cookery, such as ovens and small domestic appliances, now embraces homewares, hot taps, sinks, kitchen furniture etc etc. And now even home interiors have had the celeb treatment with supermodel Kate Moss having devised the interior of a home.

While there is undoubtedly a cache to having a celebrity attached to the brand, not least for media coverage and Joe Public to meet and greet at events, is a brand ambassador for large kitchen products truly tangible in sales? Playing devil’s advocate, for a consumer who is looking to create a room that reflects their lifestyle or one to which they aspire, does a celebrity endorsement truly swing a sale, in the same way as perfume, coffee or mens’ pants?  After all a kitchen is not an impulse buy. It’s a considered purchase.

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The industry often talks about consumers being highly educated, understanding now more than ever about the role of the kitchen, products on the market, materials and interior trends. They openly admit to consumers taking time to peruse home interior portals, check reviews and price comparison sites. Then, on the other hand, the industry suggests these investigative researchers can be ‘switched’ because their product has dual branding with a former librarian who won “Great British Jam-off” (I made that one up, I hope!)

I’m a huge fan of Jessica Ennis-Hill but I’ve not swapped my bank account to Santander, and although I do own a Girls Aloud album (I know, I know), I haven’t bought L’Oreal Elnette hairspray because Cheryl Fernandez-Versini told me ‘I’m worth it’. Okay, I’ll confess I did buy a James Martin by Wahl stick blender, so I’m not completely averse to the security of a brand name aligned with a cooking expert. But, here is really my point, when will we reach the saturation point? And, with supermodels now connected with interiors, have we already gone that step too far? Is it really a case of (Brand) Ambassadors, you are spoiling us?