Wieden+Kennedy shoots Sainsbury’s products that look real, but are actually cake, for Bake Off

With help from cake illusionist Ben Cullen, the design agency invites us to play our new favourite game: Cake or not cake?

29 March 2022


If you haven’t seen a video of a loaf of bread, a burger, or an unusually still-looking pet being sliced into on your feed, revealing (to your relief) that it’s actually a Battenberg this year, the algorithm has failed you. Don’t worry, we’ll catch you up – cakes that don’t look like cakes are in, cakes that look like cakes are out. The latest to take a creative spin on the trend is Wieden+Kennedy London, creating a series of idents for Sainsbury’s as Taste the Difference takes over the sponsorship of Channel 4’s The Great British Bake Off. Featuring cake illusions by Ben Cullen, Cake or not cake? encourages audiences to debate with fellow viewers in the room over whether an orange is made out of icing or not.

“The internet owns the idea [of cake illusions] but we’re really excited to bring it to the huge Bake Off audience, surprising them with more cake content,” says Philippa Beaumont and Freddy Taylor, associate creative directors at Wieden+Kennedy London. “I think it’s always a good sign when advertising is in step with cultural trends, so it feels right to be launching Cake or not cake?.” Bringing an interactive twist to the strange fake cake cultural phenomenon, Wieden+Kennedy landed on something short, simple and humorous for the work. The idents are directed by Joseph Mann, produced by Blink Productions and voiced by Stephen Fry.

Wieden+Kennedy: Cake or not cake? (Copyright © Sainsbury’s, 2022)

On the inspiration behind the project, Philippa and Freddy tell us: “We’ve long been obsessed with a Japanese game show that requires people to bite into very random things in the hopes that they’re chocolate – so there was definitely some inspiration there.”

Meanwhile, for the process behind the idents, Philippa and Freddy explain: “The brief was essentially to find a link between Sainsbury’s and the show and then have some fun! There were lots of great ideas on the table but this one really stood out for its simplicity and humour.” Bringing cake illusionist Ben Cullen into the mix, the studio aimed to create the most impressive and surprising cakes possible, choosing Taste the Difference products “that would really trick and delight”. Philippa and Freddy also reveal that, for each ident, Ben made about five or six cakes until he was completely happy; “A labour of love for sure”.

The final idents were purposefully stripped back; “We kept everything else super simple so everyone could revel in the cake,” says Philippa and Freddy. As the broadcast sponsorship continues, Wieden+Kennedy will add more cakes to the series to further the interactive experience of the idents.

GalleryWieden+Kennedy: Cake or not cake? (Copyright © Sainsbury’s, 2022)

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Wieden+Kennedy: Cake or not cake? (Copyright © Sainsbury’s, 2022)

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About the Author

Liz Gorny

Liz (she/they) joined It’s Nice That as news writer in December 2021. In January 2023, they became associate editor, predominantly working on partnership projects and contributing long-form pieces to It’s Nice That. Contact them about potential partnerships or story leads.

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