Hovis - Another Iconic TV Ad

15th September, 2008

Another great TV ad has graced the goggle box and this time its by Hovis.

The ad shows a lad in the late 1800s collecting a loaf from the bakers and running home to his mum. On the way he travels through time, the scenery changes through the generations using historical landmarks such as; the sinking of the Titanic, the Suffragettes, WWI & WWII, the 1966 world cup, 70's fashion, the miners' strike and the millenium.

The advert has a patriotic feel and perfectly achieves the original brief to re-establish Hovis as a legendary brand. Those of you who are old enough to remember the 1973 Hovis 'bike' ad will see that the new ad is a clever extension that brings the Hovis brand right up to date.

Hovis started out in 1886 but under the not so catchy name of Smith's Patent Germ Flour. In 1890 the owners ran a national competition for someone to come up with a new name with a prize of £25 for the winning entry (quite a lot of money at the time).

The winner was Herbert Grime with 'Hovis' which was derived from the latin 'Hominis Vis' which means 'strength of man'.

By 1895 Hovis was already selling more than a million loaves per weekand the Hovis marketing machine was already well oiled. Early ads pointed out the relative merits - a 1.5lb loaf of Hovis was more nourishing than a 0.5lb of steak and a 1lb loaf of bread.

In the 1890s Hovis had the backing of the medical profession who advocated Hovis as a cure for indigestion and the company was also quick to capitalise on the fact that their bread was being supplied to the Royal Family.

Hovis recognised the importance of the brand and the familiar name was stamped on the side of the loaf to protect against imitations. By 1895 they even offered £50 as a reward for information on anyone selling bread as Hovis without the patented flour.

Hovis was one of the first brands to embrace TV advertising when it was introduced in 1955 and in 1956 they produced 9 different TV ads. In 1973 the now famous 'bike' ad was aired and became one of Britain's best remembered ads. The ad was directed by (Sir) Ridley Scott and featured music from Dvorak's Symphony Number 9 - 'From the New World'.

This latest ad is a clever reminder of the heritage of a great British brand and I will definately be putting a slice or two of thick Hovis in the toaster tomorrow morning.


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