Hovis adapted a creative legacy to achieve a rapid share turnaround

Andy Nairn

Marketing textbooks rightly emphasise that advertising is a long-term investment. But, in these difficult economic times, when clients are increasingly looking for immediate success, it's important to recognise that communications can have very powerful short-term effects too. This case study charts the remarkable turnaround experienced by British bread brand Hovis over the past 12 months, and relates how a famous advertising campaign was at the heart of this success story.


Hovis is Britain's most famous bread brand. Founded 122 years ago, it had become a household name for generations, as well known for its iconic advertising as for its baking prowess. However, since 2006, Hovis had found itself in serious trouble. Product quality had gradually been ignored; advertising cut-through had been neglected; and packaging had become somewhat recessive. By the end of 2007, Hovis' market share was plummeting, exacerbated by the national expansion of a hitherto regional player called Warburtons.