oxo family ad

It’s not just mums who cook for their brood these days. Dads do it, too – and while it’s a touch dispiriting that getting a bloke to handle a saucepan is still a noteworthy move by a grocery brand in 2016, seeing the Oxo family back on air for the first time in 17 years – in two new TV ads that air for the first time tonight – signals another important step in the rejuvenation of Premier Foods – from a marketing and product perspective, at least.

Where once Premier appeared as tired and decrepit as its brand, now the company is taking a more youthful approach all over the place.

Take its cakes operation. Packing Mr Kipling’s Angel Slices and Cherry Bakewells into an on-the-go format and introducing on-trend flavours and ingredients (like in its Cranberry and Orange Oat Slices and Dark Chocolate & Coconut Oat Slices or its limited edition Cocktail Fancies) has given the previously crumbly Mr Kipling a new lease of life in the past 18 months.

It’s a similar story on the savoury side, where Premier appears to have developed some useful IP around its Oxo Stock Pots. The deployment of the iconic, but modernised Oxo family in a TV ad is a growing sign of its confidence in rivalling Unilever’s Knorr Stock Pots (as famously advertised by Marco Pierre White).

But it has good reason to be confident. Last week Oxo’s Stock Pots, which launched last summer, were winners of the Cooking Sauces & Marinades category (for the Succulent Chicken with Garlic & Thyme variant) at The Grocer’s New Product Awards. Even Bisto’s new ready-to-use gravy line-up in pouches looks ideal for the time-poor young professional and sits alongside another Stock Pot Juicy Lamb with Garlic, Herbs and Red Wine variant.

Meanwhile, the new Paxo Sensational Stuffings range is made with speciality breads to tap that artisanal trend.

But for the ultimate sign of Premier’s modernising streak, check out what Premier is doing to its veteran Homepride brand. Its All American Sticky Hickory Smoked Maple Cooking Sauce was highly commended at the NPAs in the same category as the Oxo Stock Pots. If you’d have told that little Fred fella three or four years ago that his bosses would be using his face for a range inspired by Deep South Americana, he’d have probably eaten his bowler hat.