MasterChef Australia Brand Power – Celebrity or Unknown?

Masterchef Australia

With the introduction of the new channel 10 series of MasterChef Australia in early 2009,  ratings for this new show went through the roof. The final episode of the reality TV cooking competition set a new record with a staggering 3.7 million Australians tuned in to see Julie Goodwin defeat Poh Ling Yeow in the grand final. And with the announcement of the new series Celebrity MasterChef Australia the ratings could only get better…couldn’t they?

Celebrity MasterChef Australia

The announcement of Celebrity MasterChef Australia has created some chatter within the MasterChef audience, some good, some bad, and the main question I find myself asking is “by using ‘B-grade’ celebrities as the contestants, am I going to find the MasterChef Australia brand experience as enjoyable as the first series?”

The answer I find myself saying is NO. You have to question the authenticity of MasterChef Australia? Is it a show that discovers unknown talent with food as the medium, or is it a cooking show about cooking skills, selling recipes and products?

‘B-grade’ celebrities – we already know where they have been, and what they have done. There may be some tension with the personal brand of the celebrity perhaps evolving from where they are positioned already in our minds. Even so the personal stories and journey of positive growth we the audience were taken on in the first series, will be seriously eroded.

Celebrity MasterChef Australia - Julie

Unknown people such as Julie can take the audience on a ride of emotions, the audience can relate to the stay at home mum, we know we are taking part in her rise or fall. We relate to her success or failure. Personal brands become apparent and are slowly created before our eyes. Julie ‘the home-style cooking mum’ brand blossomed on the camera and it will be interesting to see if a celebrity of whom we know, can reshape their personal brand with the same level of interest for the viewer.

But what is the celebrity thing about? Do they want to become a chef after the last apron is hung up. I don’t think so. Therefore in our minds we know this is not a real make or break moment for them – but merely another way of them getting their face on TV and out into the public domain. Perhaps give me some real celebrities and I might be interested.

It will be interesting to see how the show ends up, watch the show tomorrow night, 7:30 on channel 10 and give me your thoughts? I don’t know why I am saying that, a free plug for a dubious concept!

Tim Wood
Creative Genius


  1. Yeah I agree, this could be a bad one! I had a look at the celebrity contestants and I already know that I don’t care about any of them, at least with the first series you didn’t know until half way through which ones you liked and disliked.


  2. You have a good point about the authenticity of MasterChef Australia. Is it a show that discovers unknown talent or is it a cooking show about selling recipes and products? I think it is all about selling ad space. It all points to a brand grabbing for money.

  3. As a lover of food, Masterchef should be a brand about the love of cooking, passion for making delicious meals from scratch and using fresh ingredients. For me… B-grade celebrities, Coles, McDonalds and Harvey Norman are certainly not the essence around my home inspired cooking. Bring back the original I say!

  4. Wathced the show last night, very much felt like a snack size version. Reminding me of what I liked about the original show, but not quite satisfying. I have to agree with Rachel, the ads and brands around and in between the show clash with the ethos of the show.

    It’s the same thing that did Jamie Oliver’s personal brand so much damage in the UK, promoting healthy, organic food while flogging stuff for Sainsbury’s and Tefal. Rubbed his audience up the wrong way Master Chef is in danger of doing the same thing.

  5. Good to see we had a few people who tuned in to Celebrity MasterChef last night to see how it compared. Rachel, Ben and Derek you are all both spot on. With the introduction of Coles, Harvey Norman and McDonalds as sponsors the shows authenticity has become questionable.

    My question still stands, “by using ‘B-grade’ celebrities as the contestants, do I find the MasterChef Australia brand experience as enjoyable as the first series?”. From watching last nights show, it doesn’t cut the mustard!


  6. I missed the first episode (by the sounds of things fortunately) due to the interest in the Hey Hey it’s Saturday reunion and it seems I wasn’t alone looking at the ratings. I will be tuning in again to 9 on Wednesday but will certainly give CMC a look the following week.

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