Wavemaker North plays matchmaker with Dr Oetker Ristorante and Channel 4’s First Dates this Valentine’s Day

Real-life romance features in a new Valentine’s special campaign for Channel 4 and Dr Oetker Ristorante, developed especially for the hit Channel 4 show First Dates.

The campaign - created by Wavemaker, which also brokered the multi-platform content partnership between the broadcaster and pizza brand - is designed to reignite romance amongst Ristorante pizza-lovers, using a real-life contemporary relationship to challenge outdated brand perceptions. 

At its heart is a series of contextual ads with Valentine’s special edits, which reminds viewers about the importance of making time for romance; positioning Ristorante as the ultimate pizza for a special weekday date night in.

Featured in the ad is Durham based Dom who surprises his NHS worker wife Amy with a surprise First Dates dinner at home. The real-life couple’s lives are so busy, they’ve yet to go on their honeymoon.

During their date, Dom and Amy are served by the First Dates TV series’ Maître d’ Fred Sirieix, and at the ad’s end, the couple speak candidly about their evening in the same style as the show – straight to the camera. In collaboration with First Dates producers Twenty Twenty, Wavemaker has also created social assets featuring the same couple, selected from thousands of applicants who responded to a casting call issued on social media.

The original ads launched in October 2018 and are being backed by a First Dates co-branded pack promotion where a viewer can win a holiday to the hotel where First Dates is filmed.

Dr Oetker Ristorante’s First Dates campaign runs across TV, social, digital and on-pack. Brand tracking research has been commissioned with Channel 4 post-campaign to measure its success.

Beth Smith, Partnership Director at Wavemaker Manchester, said: “The Wavemaker team saw a growth opportunity in reigniting romance, creating the ultimate date night in on behalf of Dr Oetker Ristorante Pizza. Finding the perfect pairing with leading Channel 4 show First Dates, we have showcased a sprinkling of real-life romance, alongside the cast of the show to create a heartfelt contextual ad.”

Jane Hector-Jones, Group Partnerships and Content Manager at Channel 4 said: “Dr. Oetker Ristorante Pizza wanted an authentic and warm articulation of romance that resonated with real life in the UK. In response to this brief and in collaboration with Twenty Twenty, we’ve developed a campaign that brings together the inimitable First Dates brand, Ristorante Pizza, and a real-life romance to celebrate the little kindnesses that can mean so much. “

Josephine Skinner, Senior Brand Manager at Dr. Oetker, commented: “We are delighted to be working with Channel 4 and First Dates. The Ristorante brand offers an authentic and relatable Italian pizza experience for couples, perfect for a romantic date night, any night!

“We were blown away by the response to our call-out. We were told to expect around 500 entries so 6,000 responses is fantastic – there are clearly a lot of people out there who would appreciate a little romance!”