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Build it and they will come. Or will they?

We do love a good saying. 

So much so that if we love it enough we actually decide it’s right in what it’s saying.

“If you build it, they will come” is a classic example. 

It’s one I’ve heard people say far too often in far too many meetings. 

And it’s one I roll my eyes at almost every time. 

Because it’s not true.  

Recently we were tasked to come up with a campaign for The Grocer to get “millennials” excited about British cheese.  

Turns out us Brits produce a truckload of the stuff. 

Over 700 varieties, which is bonkers. 

But no one is buying it.   

We thought the solution was to shout about this cheese revolution. 

So, we came up with the campaign; Seize the Cheese.  

It began as a rallying cry for young Brits. 

Get out there, get behind our cheese revolution and start discovering great British cheese. 

With that in mind we started thinking of ways to get our audience out there buying the yellow stuff. 

But it doesn’t take a genius to spot the problem here. 

We’re trying to get an audience, which predominately lives in the UK’s biggest cities, to go out and buy a product produced and sold locally in rural areas. 

No wonder millennials (ugh, that word!) aren’t buying these cheeses.  

They’re miles away from it.    

I live in London and there could well be a delightful Yorkshire cheddar with my name written all over it.  

But you ain’t gonna get me travelling four hours up the M1 to get it.  

I’ll stick to the limited selection my local Tesco offers me. 


Because it’s convenient.  

You can build it, but it absolutely does not mean people will come to it.  

You have to take it to them.  

You have to make it convenient for them to get it. 

And that became our strategy for Seize the Cheese;  

Think of the ways we can get these products to the people. 

This approach soon gave birth to our Seize the Cheese delivery service.  

Instead of just shouting and screaming about cheese, we’d give people the opportunity to have a selection delivered right to their front door every month.  

They wouldn’t even have to put effort into choosing which of the 700 cheeses they fancied.  

We’d recommend cheese based on their taste preferences. 

Then another idea sprung on us. 

It’s no secret cheesy chips are a favourite with young Brits.

And it’s hard to ignore the street food boom spreading across the UK.

When you smash these two insights together you get another powerful way to deliver our products to our audience.  

Seize the Cheesy Chips Buses.

Our team of buses would travel around the UK serving up cheesy chips with a twist.

Rather than the usual cheddar, food lovers could choose between five fresh new cheeses to have smothered over their chips. 

I actually dream of this happening one day. 

Ultimately it was these two ideas that made our campaign successful. 

You can build it, scream and shout about it, but if you don’t provide a way for people to get to it there’s very little chance they’ll bother finding a way themselves. 

So, next time you’re in a meeting and someone proudly delivers the line “if we build it, they will come”, challenge them. 

Scrutinise their thinking.  

And make sure they aren’t just saying it because they think it’s a lovely way of sounding right. 

If they are, there’s a very good chance they’re about to waste a lot of your time, energy and money.

Click here to read more about our Seize the Cheese campaign 

Written by Olly Cooper