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  • Writer's pictureLucy Atherton

Crazy PR capers

During my time working with Ministry of Cake in Taunton we ran some fairly crazy PR campaigns. The clue is in the name - the directors loved working with politicians and never took themselves too seriously.

My first job with them was to send the Chancellor of the Exchequer a cake, as part of the company's campaign to boost support for the hospitality industry. The boss was calling for a reduction in VAT charges on the hospitality industry in the budget and he thought this might be a nice sweetener.

Read the full story here.

Sending cake to politicians then became a bit of a thing. Lucky Sajid Javid MP got the next one, this time as part of a campaign to improve the county's trunk roads.

Read the full story here.

We even sent their popular chocolate fudge cake to 10 Downing Street, after the PM Theresa May praised their export sales increase during PMQs. That tested all my journalistic powers. Getting permission from the right ministerial staff and then making sure something arriving in a small box didn't get blown up by security before it even reached Mrs May's dining table was quite a feat.

All of which meant that during the day the company was trending on Twitter.

Read the full story here.

So for good measure Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson got one too.

At Ministry of Pudding in Torquay, at 10.28am on the 26th May the 10 millionth pudding come off the line, christened ‘’James Frank’’. He was named after the two current factory managers James and Frank. (Their one millionth pudding was called “Cyril” after the then factory manager at the time.) In the press release we included a birth announcement and even had a photo of the pud being cradled in blanket.

Katherine Barrett joined Ministry of Cake to head up their HR team in 2017. A lifelong Aston Villa supporter, she was amused to note that the MD was a huge fan of their rivals Birmingham City. But she pretty taken aback after receiving her new employment contract in the post which had a section saying:

‘’Clause 7: It will be expected that your support for Aston Villa will cease on the first day of employment. You will, however, be fully entitled to support Birmingham City instead.’’

That made it to the local press too of course.

By this time it was becoming quite hard to keep politicians away. So much so that one week we even ran a competition to guess which one was visiting.

At Christmas we often decided to do something a bit different. Measuring festive cheer via sales of Yule logs proved quite eye catching on social media.

It was so much fun that, almost inevitably, we ran a variant of it during the 2017 general election campaign.

From memory I think red velvet cake just scraped a win...

It's always great when you work for people with a sense of fun. There was a serious purpose of course - to increase sales and brand awareness. Along with the team at Sinclaire Knight Marketing, I never lost sight of that and it was certainly a blast along the way.


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