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Australian Beef feels the MasterChef effect

20 November 2020

Q&A with MLA Domestic Market Manager, Graeme Yardy

Australian Beef’s sponsorship of MasterChef Australia earlier this year, just as COVID-19 lockdowns and movement restrictions came into effect, has proven to be a timely move in a year of disruption.

Here, MLA Domestic Market Manager, Graeme Yardy, discusses the impact of sponsoring the nation’s favourite cooking show for the first time.

Q: Why did Australian Beef decide to sponsor MasterChef this year?

A: The opportunity to be a sponsor of the MasterChef Australia: Back To Win series came about at short notice and we responded very quickly to ensure our investment on behalf of levy payers was very relevant at that time.

With Australian Beef an official partner of Australia’s Olympic and Paralympic teams, the activity we had planned for earlier this year in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Games obviously had to be postponed and we had to act quickly find another property to help support beef sales.

At the time, we were seeing the impact of COVID-19 unfold in overseas markets, who were several weeks ahead of us. We knew home cooking and consumption of media was going to spike as a result of lockdowns and restricted movements.

We were also receiving calls from the processing sector, asking what we could do from a marketing point of view to promote premium cuts that would normally have gone to restaurants and fine dining segments, but were now going into retail as a result of the COVID-19 shutdowns.

We knew we didn’t need to sell more mince at that time, and so with MasterChef Australia we focused on premium cuts and the idea of having a restaurant meal at home.

Q: What did the MasterChef integration involve?

A: The Australian Beef sponsorship of this series ran from 10 May to the finale in mid-July.

Australian rib-eye beef was a main feature of the Everything Mystery Box challenge which aired on 22 June, and challenged contestants to plate up both savoury and sweet dishes using every ingredient under the box.

Each component of the campaign was strategically placed to complement in-show moments and strengthen viewer recall of key brand messages. This included promotions leading up to the episode, social channels, and strategic television advertising placement.

We also worked with retailers to align Australian Beef promotions in-store.

Q: What was the impact?

A:  The sponsorship was extremely well timed and presented an ideal opportunity for Australian Beef to connect and resonate with consumers.

The series reached 12.4 million people across the season, and attracted the biggest entertainment audience of the year.

Australian Beef’s sponsorship was very effective at driving brand perception – 64% of viewers felt more favourable about Australian Beef as a direct result of the sponsorship with MasterChef.

Recall of Australian Beef’s television advertising and integration within MasterChef outperformed the historical average for first time sponsors.

Out of the nine other program sponsors, Australian Beef’s brand television advertising was the third most recalled behind Coles and A2 milk, who are long-time sponsors of the show.

Brand fit was the strongest fit of any client for this series.

It also drove more traffic to the Australian Beef website, with total traffic to the site exceeding 150,000 visits per month, up from the average monthly traffic of between 70,000 to 80,000 visits.

Q: What is MLA’s focus for the forthcoming Beef campaign?

A:  This is going to be a much more ‘at home’ summer for many people as result of COVID-19 and the barbecue will be a focus.

In our Summer Beef campaign, we want consumers to take their barbecue to the next level and we’ve organised a squad of experts to help them do that.

We really want to get people thinking more about how the barbecue can be a really versatile way to create many meals, beyond steak and salad, and get them out of the kitchen.