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Bahlsen ’The Future is Oblong’ Jaffa Cake PR campaign

Bahlsen ’The Future is Oblong’ Jaffa Cake PR campaign

Best practice from Loud PR.


Loud was tasked with raising awareness of German confectionary company, Bahlsen’s, brand of Messino Jaffa Cakes, and developed an exciting campaign, titled ‘The Future is Oblong’.


The company focused on the cake’s shape and the fact that it’s tastier than the average round Jaffa Cake. The message was channelled through traditional PR, online, live and experiential activity over a two-month period.

The campaign was kick-started with a Twitter feed, with all tweets relating to oblongs, oblong-shaped objects or quotes, which were adapted to include the word oblong, e.g. “An oblong a day keeps the doctor away”. This allowed for engagement with Twitter followers, who were intrigued by ‘The Future is Oblong’ message and tweets or simply loved the oblong shape.

This was followed by live activity at the Oval’s fifth Ashes test and the Reading Festival where volunteers (otherwise known as “oblongeers”) carried ‘The Future is Oblong’, signs.

The live activity spread awareness of the campaign and the microsite (, while engaging with the public and generating interesting content, such as tweets, images, blog posts and event reports, which were put on the site.

Soon after the live activity, the microsite revealed that the message was all about Jaffa Cakes. Following this reveal, sample boxes of Messinos simply branded as “Oblong Jaffa Cakes” and a news release were sent to 750 regional and national media across the UK.

The aim of this was to invite influential journalists, presenters and celebrities to see for themselves if they thought oblong Jaffa Cakes tasted better than round ones.

Packs were also sent to influential online voices for sampling. These people were either prominent commentators on chocolate or confectionary, bloggers, Flickr users or creators of large Jaffa Cake groups on Facebook.

Following this massive media push, Loud brought Messino to the general public through sampling activity over three consecutive weekends at major UK shopping centres:

The Trafford Centre, thecentre:mk and Bluewater. The experiential activity involved handing out free samples and money-off vouchers, inviting the public to take part in taste-tests between oblong and round Jaffa Cakes.


The results of the campaign were impressive. In a one-month period, 80 articles were featured in the national and regional press and online, reaching a readership of 30 million.

This included coverage in the Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, Daily Star, Daily Express and London Evening Standard.

The oblong Jaffa Cake story also featured on 25 regional and national radio programmes, reaching a total of 10.5 million listeners; most notably on Chris Evans’ Radio Two Drivetime Show and DJ Nihal’s Radio One Sunday afternoon show.

In social media, discussion about the campaign and Jaffa Cakes occurred in over 20 online forums.

There were also over 100 references to the campaign from Twitter users, with celebrities such as Alan Carr, radio presenter Kate Lawler, Christine Hamilton and well-known Conservative blogger Iain Dale commenting.

The experiential shopping centre activity was also positive, with 90 per cent of participants of the taste test over the three weekends preferring the Messino to the McVitie’s alternative. During the sampling 55,000 Jaffa Cakes and 14,000 discount vouchers were given to the public.

“’The Future is Oblong’ campaign demonstrated what can be achieved when online, traditional PR, live activity and experiential activity are all used to great effect,” said Marketing Manager at Bahlsen, Jon Dance.

The campaign spread awareness of one of our lesser-known products and positioned Messinos as a potential challenger to traditional Jaffa Cakes.”

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