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The challenge

The bread category is an increasingly challenging environment - consumers are eating less bread than ever before, and the bread they do eat is more premium. As well as this, the category is more competitive, with the growth of private label taking up shelf space previously dominated by the big 3 - this has put distribution pressures on the brand and led to volume decline and limited visibility outside of major retailers. Whilst people know and love the Hovis brand, people may feel that it is less relevant to their lives today.

The insight

Hovis represents Britain at our best. The name Hovis, literally means, ‘strength of mankind’ and for over a century it has weathered wars, depressions and recessions to consistently look after the health of the nation.  And, in today’s modern, fast paced, ever-changing world people are seeking comfort and time out to reconnect with the simpler pleasures in life. Hovis is a brand which reminds people of simpler times and so is well placed to provide comfort in these fractious and divisive times.

The active brand platform

Enduring Goodness - The Hovis brand is a much loved British icon. As our famous end line states, ‘Hovis. As good today as it’s always been’; from our product right through to the people that bake our bread. We’ve been through it all; two world wars, a depression, multiple recessions and political discord and we are still going strong and delivering little moments of goodness, every day, across the Nation.

The creative output

The Hovis ‘Boy on a Bike’ ad has been voted the UK’s favourite ad. To bring our platform to life, we decided to remaster it - to show that the ad itself very much as good today as it’s always been. It’s a celebration and demonstration how, not only the bread we bake, but our values have stood the test of time and are still as relevant as ever.  

We worked with the BFI to remaster the original footage, restoring the ad to its former glory, and we worked with today’s generation of the Ashington Colliery band to re-record the famous Dvorak music. We amplified the campaign in PR with interviews with the team responsible for making the much loved original ad Alan Hepburn (Marketing Director, Hovis 1973), Carl Barlow (Boy on the Bike) and Ridley Scott (Director). We drove further engagement with the campaign online and in social.

The outcome

The campaign has received a huge amount of coverage, most notably featured on ITV’s Loose Women. Data have shown that advertising awareness has improved and consideration is starting to shift. Whilst it’s early days, with 331 pieces of press coverage and counting, it is clear to see that Hovis is still as much a talking point today as it was back in 1973.

What this campaign has taught us

There is often enormous value to be found in a brand’s past assets.


A humble, ego free Advertising agency creating brands that come alive in consumers’ lives through radical ideas.