Unless you’ve been offline for the past few weeks, the shock departure of long-term Masterchef judges Gary Mehigan, Matt Preston and George Calombaris has been the talk of the town. And now, the chatter turns to who will replace them.

This is just the kind of creative challenge we love at Quip Brands, because it brings together brand strategy, reputational risk and cultural relevance. 

But, like the MasterChef contestants themselves, we know that you need several specialist ingredients to really cook something impressive. Which is why for this little experiment, we thought we’d bring in the Paul Bocuse of data to provide the special ingredient—market intelligence.

Elisa Choy, aka the Data Whisperer, is known for her ability to slice and dice the data, so as to reveal the tastiest insights into any brand—including the MasterChef judges. I asked—nay begged—her to help me uncover the data on whom Australia actually wanted to replace Gary, Matt and George, and thankfully she took a bite.

Here’s what we needed to know to help us select the most appealing candidates to be the new MasterChef judges, as revealed by the data (call it the core ingredients, if you will).

1.   Is the MasterChef brand worth the continued investment? We all know that TV shows don’t often survive after big name talent changes, so is this a TV show worth saving, or has the soufflé of MasterChef lost its ability to rise?

2.   What do Australians really think about the outgoing judges? This is important because if you understand how engaged Australians were with the past judges, you can get a better sense of how difficult it would be to transition to new talent.

3.   Who does Australia want to replace the past judges, and why? And, it’s not just who that matters, but why they matter, which is critical to composing a panel that has Australia’s affection, while also having the ability to carry the requisite drama, emotion and narrative arcs that are critical to a great TV show.

Imagine how differently the negotiations would go if Channel 10 or EndemolShine could answer these questions and know exactly how the public truly felt?

Well, thanks to AI market intelligence, we can. And, we’ve love to share them.

We now know the emotional connection Australia had to each of the judges (both past and proposed), and how strongly those feelings were felt. We have a clear measure of the value of the MasterChef Australia brand that could determine whether or not the investment in it should continue. 

And—drumroll—we also know who is the clear—and can we just stress CLEAR—choice to take over as the lead host, along with the strengths and weaknesses of other candidates.

To understand more about the data, read Elisa’s article here.

Now, of course, data may provide the core ingredients, but the proof is in the pudding. So, based on what we’ve now drawn from the data, we’ve also applied our knowledge of brand strategy and storytelling to form some key recommendations for how these insights could underpin the content format and ideas for the new era of MasterChef.

We call this our creative intelligence—where we look at measurable insights through a creative lens, and bring together our knowledge of compelling content, storytelling and brand appeal to formulate a strategy for an exciting and commercially viable new chapter for the MasterChef franchise.

Now we know how Australia feels about the potential judges, we can use these insights to propose a judging panel that has an effective mix of the chiaroscuro (the light and dark—the good and the evil) that forms a foundation for great judging chemistry and engaging storytelling.

MasterChef is as much about the people as the food itself. And, while the characters are brought to life through the contestants, the judges must fulfil the foundational roles of protagonist and antagonist that makes storytelling so timeless.

Some of the more the interesting insights we discovered in doing this research came from how Australians engaged with the previous judges. This level of understanding would no doubt provide some rationale for the flatlining of ratings, especially given the continued love of the show.

Elisa and I have personally invested in this research because we want to show just how differently any challenge a brand faces can be overcome—and even strengthened—through expert data analysis and creative intelligence. Using a combination of data based market intelligence and creative intelligence, Elisa and I know we’ve got a recipe for success.

But now, like a great episode of MasterChef, we are going to have to leave you on a cliffhanger. While we are keen to share our findings, we’re going to give Channel 10 and EndemolShine the first opportunity, because it’s their brand after all, and if we can help them navigate this key decision, and also build a better future for MasterChef in Australia, then we’d all be well satiated.

So, who’d like to connect us to the right people? 

PS: If you’d like to know how we can use this exciting new marriage of data and creativity to help solve your brand challenges, I’d love to hear from you.

On this research piece, I collaborated with Elisa Choy. She is a Data Whisperer that has a magic eye to see strategic and actionable insights. She translates maths to English to turn data into better decisions. She has 16 years’ experience in strategy, finance, marketing, data and analytics. She has helped clients create data assets, uncovered actionable insights and transformed organisations into data-driven cultures. Despite being a successful classical left-brainist who has trained as a merchant banker and economist, she engages creative right-brain innovation to see between numbers to tell a good data story. She is Founder of Strategic Data Central, a boutique data analytics and insights consultancy based in Sydney, Australia. 

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