Ad of the week – Hovis

by Stratton Craig

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Despite bread being one of the more plain essentials of the great British diet, Hovis has enjoyed enduring success as a brand since its beginnings in 1886.

Adverts have always been a key factor in the popularity of Hovis’ wholesome loaves, and plenty of its best productions are now considered classics. Using calm, conversational copy and a nostalgic tone, the brand’s adverts are always distinctive, and at times even heart-warming.  

Ridley Scott’s 1973 ‘Bike Ride’ promotion was voted Britain’s favourite advertisement of all time. Showing a boy heaving a bicycle loaded with bread up a steep cobbled hill, it’s certainly picturesque, but it’s the perfectly-worded script that really resonates. The line “’Twas like taking bread to the top of the world” evokes a real sense of the charming intimacy of village life, thereby associating Hovis with the personality of the local bakery.

In 2008 the brand launched an equally successful television advert – ‘Go on Lad’ – which followed the journey of a boy through the 122-year history of Hovis. In the weeks following the advert Hovis’ sales jumped by some £12 million, and again we’d point to the script. After the boy stumbles through beautifully-shot historical events, including a suffragette protest and Winston Churchill’s ‘We shall fight on the beaches’ speech, he returns home to his mother.  “Is that you home, love?” she calls, to which he simply responds “Yeah”. Again, the familiarity of a scene typical of British life, set against the tide of history, presents Hovis as a friendly, homely and trustworthy brand.

Hovis’ current tagline ‘As good today as it’s always been’ maintains this endearing tone. The new ‘British Farmers Loaf’ of bread is described as having ‘the ultimate home-baked taste and rustic feel’, and it’s being promoted by a TV advert depicting a farm boy working hard to earn his father’s respect. For distinctively earthy copy, look no further than Hovis.        

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