Spare Chair Sunday
The elderly in the UK aren’t sharing a roast with loved ones as often as they’d like. An estimated one million people over the age of 65 said that Sunday was the loneliest day of the week.
From this insight the Bisto Spare Chair Sunday initiative was born – wherein people were encouraged to extend a chair at their dining table to an elderly person who would otherwise pass their Sunday in solitude.UK
The Sunday roast dinner is a quintessentially British occasion. For decades Bisto has built its brand on the idea of bringing people together around the dinner table.
In an increasingly cynical world the challenge Bisto faced was to move beyond an advertising message to a real-life mission. And of course, we also had a big sales target to hit for Bisto Best, the premium gravy. How could we deliver on both objectives with a limited budget?
The campaign idea, developed in conjunction with McCann London, was founded around a key insight: the elderly in the UK aren’t sharing a roast with loved ones as often as they’d like. An estimated one million people over the age of 65 said that Sunday was the loneliest day of the week.
From this insight the Bisto Spare Chair Sunday initiative was born – wherein people were encouraged to extend a chair at their table to an elderly person who would otherwise pass their Sunday in solitude.
Bisto partnered with charity Contact the Elderly (CTE), as they are uniquely focussed on partnering volunteers with lonely older people around food. CTE shared with us their five-year plan to try and double their volunteer database by 2020 and so we agreed to help them on this journey and chose them as our charity partner for Bisto Spare Chair Sunday.
MAKING IT HAPPEN
We knew that radio was both a channel with a strong community feel as well as one which had driven strong ROI for Bisto in the past. Paddy McGuiness’s Sunday Dinner radio show (9-12) was the ideal fit for discussing our initiative as listeners prepared their Sunday dinners.
Broadcast across a number of local radio stations in the north of England it gave us a platform to talk to listeners at a local level to get them involved – something that would be lost within a national campaign.
Alongside an integrated partnership of trails and live reads, it was really important to bring Spare Chair Sunday to life on air, as we wanted to demonstrate that Bisto wasn’t just driving awareness of the charity but living the initiative and really being part of the solution.
With the help of The Story Lab, our partnership team, we worked closely with the production team for Paddy’s show to bring a level of editorial integration that had never been achieved on the show before. We held a competition to ‘star’ in the show and took over the final sponsored show with a live demonstration of Spare Chair Sunday featuring the winners.
The three-hour show featured the Quinn family, as well as Maisie, an older local woman who is part of the Contact the Elderly community. Maisie was truly a star and the broadcast beautifully highlighted the positive elements of offering your Spare Chair to another member of the community.
Alongside radio, social activity amplified the activity. We also piggybacked on social conversations happening because of the John Lewis Christmas ad, which also which focussed on loneliness amongst the elderly.
As well as furthering our brand quest to bring people together whatever the barriers, the project has garnered wide support from the public - and helped increase sales on Bisto Best by 20% in its key season. Hosting an older person at your home – whether it’s once, a few times or on many occasions during the year, may only be a small thing. But it has the potential to make a huge difference. The partnership between Bisto Spare Chair Sunday and Paddy’s (McGuinness’) Sunday Dinner really helped bring the message to life and engage many more volunteers.Helen Warren Piper Marketing Director Grocery, Premier Foods