A thought occurred to me the other day. Just how do famous ‘personality brands’ become famous?
Jamie Oliver is just one of these mega personality brands the world has grown to love. We just accept Jamie as the celebrity chef who opened his home, his life and his passion to the world but just how did he become well… himself?
Countless books, TV episodes, apps, and now restaurants later, he is regarded as a ‘mega brand’ worth over hundreds of millions of dollars globally. Want to know the story? Of course you do.
A little remembered 1997 documentary called ‘Christmas at the River cafe’ aired in England and featured an unscripted, unknown sous chef (Jamie) in the background with flair, energy and passion. The day after airing, in came the offers from production companies across the country for Jamie to host his own show, and so that’s what he did.
He was just what the world wanted. Fresh, clean, organic and passionate about cooking. A welcome break from the culinary difficulty levels that his peers boasted. Thus began the mega brand. What made Jamie so marketable was not his skill (though he certainly has skill) but his look, his personality and his passion – He was marketable.
He was approachable, likeable, authentic and real. He had a family. He cooked out of his kitchen. He loved food and he loved people. The everyday cook aligned themselves with this kid from Essex and what Jamie did for the world of cooking was start a movement of passionate home cooks who didn’t mind making a mess as long as it resulted in good tasting food. He broke the chef rules and people loved him for it. He stood for something and they loved him even more.
Mostly, and I mean mostly, they built a definable, differentiated brand around him.
Some 40 restaurants, 20 books, 23 television shows in 40 countries, cooking sets, food ranges and a best selling magazine later, here is the Jamie Oliver ‘mega brand’.