How Mob nails lo-fi, high quality content in a saturated feed
Any Gen Z foodie will have no doubt seen a Mob video pop up on their feed in the past week. And if you’re not either of those things, you’ve probably heard of Mob because its seamless brand partnerships, creator-led content and dynamic recipe videos are a shining example to brands in any industry.
Today, food creators exist on every corner of social – in fact, some influencer marketing agencies are reporting a 30% increase in client demand for food content creators since last year. The challenge for Mob, then, is this: how does a food-centric brand stand out in one of the busiest social spaces? We sat down with head of content Jake Gauntlett to find out.
“Our partnerships never feel jarring because we’re selective with the brands we work with…they’re a continuation of who we are.”
First and foremost, know your niche. Mob’s positioning within the saturated food space is simple: affordable, accessible cooking. Mob’s chefs can do it all, but they choose not to. You’ll find no julienning here, no bain-maries, nothing too complicated. “Mob’s community is a collection of people, regardless of age, who are at the start of their cooking journey,” says Jake. Be inspirational, but don’t intimidate – that’s the mission.
Brand deals, not bland deals
Glance at Mob’s Instagram grid, and you can’t tell an ad from an organic post. Only by digging into the Instagram captions can you decipher a partnership with Aldi, Quaker Oats, or perhaps Peroni. That doesn’t make Mob deceptive – quite the opposite – it’s more that the ads don’t feel like ads. That’s arguably the gold standard, so how has Mob cracked it?
“Our partnerships never feel jarring because we’re very selective with the brands we work with,” says Jake. “They’re really a continuation of who we are.”
Mob stays true to its roots as a food-centric brand, even across different verticals. Sure, they could sign a deal with Spotify, produce some half-hearted videos about loving music, then secure the bag. But that wouldn’t be Mob. Instead, the team invited creators and artists like Lil Simz to the studio to cook up a favourite dish while listening to a custom Spotify playlist.
“Before, fresh content was the most important thing. Now Instagram is more about serving videos to new users depending on their interests, regardless of how old the video is.”
Another recent partnership, and a favourite of Jake’s, is a series with Gay Times magazine called ‘Tag You’re It’. Each episode sees an LGBTQ+ creator or chef make a memorable dish, and the community tags a fellow LGBTQ+ creator in the comments for the next one. It’s seen an upsurge in positive sentiment and growth from both sides – the power of successful collaboration.
Surprisingly though, Mob’s current plan isn’t increasing revenue through brand deals. It’s the recently launched subscription service and upcoming app, Mob+.
“As a publisher, we’re investing in Mob+ as our sole income stream,” Jake tells us. “If we continue to rely on brand deals, we’re at the mercy of something we can’t control.”
It’s tough to get people to pay for something that’s so far been free, but Mob’s creators and content team are enriching the product daily with new recipes, meal plans and exclusive discounts. Some recipes will always be free, in line with the brand’s accessible ethos.
The essence of Mob+ is this: a one-for-all solution in a saturated world.
People come to Disney+ for a Marvel movie marathon, but they stay for the Pixar film box set. Mob+ works in much the same way. You want comfort food with a nostalgic twist? Jodie’s your gal. Pasta and a history lesson? Jordon is the man. Mob+ strives to eliminate the need for 20 different recipe books by supplying a live online resource for every cuisine your heart desires.
Creators gonna create
Mob’s approach to content is simple: lo-fi, high quality. But Jake tells us it wasn’t always this way.
Initially, recipes were filmed and shot professionally. The output was slick, but the engagement wasn’t there. At the time, everyday people were creating viral food content without a softbox in sight. (Like TikToker @Lazy Pot Noodle, whose video of Thanksgiving dinner cooked on their bed in their university dorm room has 67 million views.)
So Mob took creators’ lead, binned its content library, and started from scratch, this time including voiceovers from the chefs. Abandoning professionality and embracing imperfection, however counter-intuitive it may have seemed at the time, doubled Mob’s audience in the following months.
It’s testament to the agility of the brand, which has always lifted inspiration from whatever’s thriving on social. Most of the time, an iPhone and a tripod are all it takes to make a Mob recipe video. Chefs do their own voiceovers, write captions in their TOV, and oversee the edit.
As 2023 draws to a close, what’s the focus for next year? Right now, it’s their newsletter Big Night In with Aldi; Instagram; and of course Mob+.
“Instagram is really getting reach for us right now,” Jake explains. “Before, fresh content was the most important thing. Now Instagram is more about serving videos to new users depending on their interests, regardless of how old the video is.”
And can we expect a Mob garlic press any time soon? “There is a gap in the market for affordable, decent quality cookware, and that would be a natural next step for us – but we’ll see,” says Jake. For now, Mob+ could yet be the recipe (sorry) for success.
Mob’s takeaways to grab attention on social:
- Do your research on creators you’re working with. The more you know them, the more you’ll build trust.
- Lo-fi, not low quality. A little love and care, and your iPhone footage will rival a professional shoot. If you’re filming a recipe in a home kitchen, work near a window and clear the worktop of clutter for a good shot.
- Reuse an old video that’s relevant for a cultural moment or event. Good content shouldn’t be a one hit wonder.
- Freshen up content with low-effort tweaks. Can you film the same video with a comedic twist?
- If you’re making people pay, meet them halfway. Offer a free trial or create a teaser for a tutorial that’s available in full with a subscription.
- Partnerships can still be authentic across two different verticals. Avoid scripted creative (the ad will be jarring) and blend both worlds in an original way, à la Mob x Gay Times.
Image credits: Mob.co.uk.