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Essential Cuisine: Almost From Scratch Food PR Success

Essential Cuisine produces high quality food stocks, and charged us with lifting the lid on one of cooking’s
best kept secrets, harnessing social media to drive trials of its products. The final taste test, and results, were delicious.


The firm behind an exceptional range premium stocks for cooking, Essential Cuisine was one of the best kept
secrets in food and approached Smoking Gun PR for a digital intervention that would lift the lid on its products.

With the overall idea of raising awareness of the brand amongst its core target demographic;
35-50 year old ‘from scratch’ cooks, we needed to throw the following into the mix to prove our effectiveness:

  • Garner 750 sample product requests
  • £1.33 CPA
  • 3,000 unique visits to a dedicated landing page on the Essential Cuisine website
  • £0.33 CPC
  • Three influencer endorsement recipes

Strategy & Plan

We began by running an online attitudes and behaviours survey, which involved 1,000 respondents.

From this we ascertained how the core audience was broken up, with the majority of those involved female,
and over 45. Most lived in South East England, The Midlands, and England’s North West, and would prepare
and serve a ‘gourmet meal’ at least once a week.

Understanding this highly active market, and their definition of a gourmet meal as one that required planning,
significant preparation time, and quality ingredients, we played to the strength of the powdered stock product –
which was of a significantly higher standard than many competitors could offer.

Focussing entirely on digital, we opted to:

  • Use social advertising to control audience and messaging, with strong calls to action, optimising for the best results, implementing a variety of ad parameters to ensure the budget was not exceeded.
  • Open the market up to a larger age range- 35-55 years, and focus equally on the male and female demographics.
  • Use influencer activity to run alongside our own social work, with this peer-to-peer endorsement helping facilitate trials and then purchase.
  • Messaging such as ‘almost from scratch’, ‘tastes like homemade’, and ‘the next best thing to homemade’ were trialled to ascertain their effectiveness.

Sample requests were driven from building out a list of Facebook target profiles, showing our messaging to
these individuals, and either directing them to the Essential Cuisine landing page, or collecting their data
within the social network for a faster route to testing.

We bolstered our black book of influencer contacts with special request hashtags on Twitter, and media
outreach systems, to secure free but quality online mentions. This freed up the entire influencer budget for
one extended endorsement, which came from Neff Cookaholic Winner Nicky Corbishley, who promoted this
across her YouTube, Facebook, ands Twitter channels, a ‘long pin’ on Pinterest, and a dedicated blog post.

Measurement & Evaluation

We gauged our success on web and social activity, and a before and after model which looked at audience
responses to the following questions:

  • ‘Have you heard of essential Cuisine?’- 35% before vs. 57% after = +22% and 62.9% uplift
  • ‘Would you consider using Essential Cuisine?’ – 26% before vs. 40% after = +14% and 53.8% uplift
  • ‘Would you recommend Essential Cuisine to family and friends?’ – 26% vs. 39% after = +13% and  50% uplift


The final results were impressive, with all KPIs surpassed:

  • 750 sample requests – 1,463 = surpassed by 95.1%
  • A sample request CPA of £1.33 – £0.68 = 48.9% cheaper than forecast
  • 3,000 unique site visits – 3,499 = surpassed by 16.6%
  • A  CPC of £0.33 – £0.28 = 15.2% cheaper than forecast
  • Three influencer endorsement recipes – eight (of which seven organic) = surpassed by 166.7%

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