Celebrity + Cheese = Success?

By Mash Bonigala

We are used to seeing celebrities turn into businesspeople, creating new products and selling them with a wide range of success. These brands usually are luxury ones that somehow tie in to the celebrity’s persona. However, sometimes a celebrity opens a business that makes me raise an eyebrow because I just don’t see the connection between the celebrity brand and the business brand. Here is one of these cases.

Most people in the UK are familiar with pop star Alex James, but most know him as the bass player from The Blur. Few people are aware of the fact that James owns a farm in Oxford, one that recently began producing cheeses. These cheeses are currently launching in an Asda near you

The range will include standard blocks of cheese as well as slices that are shaped like slices of bread for making the UK staple toasties. In addition, there will be cubes of meltable cheese intended for topping baked potatoes, known as Spudsworth. The cheese come in standard varieties with interesting flavours—including tikka masala and sweet chilli.

The logo design features a deep blue, a colour often associated with the dairy industry, with silver accents. The pop star’s initials have been used to make the logo, which features a clear A (which will showcase the cheese in the package) with a J formed from a traditional cheese knife. The words ‘Alex James Presents’ appear to have been etched onto the cheese knife. The flavours of the contents are written on the package in fluorescent upper case letters, which stand out against the rather subtle background.

According to the company spokespeople, much of the cheese making process and flavours have been developed by James, who also writes some of the package copy.

This brand has a high chance of success in the UK for several reasons. First, UK celebrity brands are often successful in our pop-obsessed culture. Although most of us have never associated Alex James with food, if the quality is high this unusual model could work. Second, the colours and images in the packaging and logo design are well done and definitely appropriate for the genre without being too obvious. Third, this is locally sourced cheese from a UK farm; who would not love that? Indeed, many people in Britain are beginning to prefer foods that hail from our own country.

Last, convenience foods are increasing in popularity in the UK. It seems silly to suggest that modern people cannot slice their own cheese, but many of us will buy special products are higher prices simply to avoid a few steps in the food preparation process.

This may be one of the more unusual celebrity brands we have seen lately, but this just might make it more successful. It certainly has created talk, which generates publicity and sales. Ultimately, the success will depend on further marketing efforts and the quality of the products themselves. However, the Alex James Presents brand seems to be starting off on the right foot.