I had a flurry of emails on Friday offering me all manner of goodies from the House of Castello® (note the trademark) "an adventurous world of extraordinary cheeses". Not only would they send me some cheeses to try, including, presumably, their "rich and feisty Creamy Blue"and "fiery and experimental Black Pepper Halo" but a hamper, a bottle of wine, a cheese slate and a set of cheese knives*.
There's obviously some serious money behind the brand which has an expensively-made ad screening at prime viewing time during Downton Abbey tonight involving a bunch of rather louche aristos "celebrating the decadence of Castello®". According to the industry website utalkmarketing.com the campaign is directed by Jonas Akerland who makes videos for Lady Gaga, apparently the inspiration behind the campaign.
So who on earth are House of Castello of whom, I confess, I'd never heard? Turns out it's Castello, the fourth largest speciality cheese brand in the UK which is owned by a large Scandinavian company called Arla, according to this report in The Grocer. Arla also owns Lurpak and apparently aims to do for cheese what the New World has done for wine.
I haven't tried the cheeses, admittedly, and they may for all I know be insanely delicious as well wildly decadent but since one of them is Danish Blue I somehow doubt it.
I'm also not sure how they can claim, as they do on their website, that there actually was a cheesemaker called the Marquis de Castello who was "renowned not only for his amazing cheeses, but also for his outrageous and indulgent parties". All a bit of fun, I guess they'd say.
But following on from the Alex James Asda range I commented on recently it certainly indicates that there's some serious money to be made in cheese - and indeed in dairy as Yeo Valley's rather more stylish new YouTube video shows. I suspect we'll be seeing more of the same.
How do you react to this kind of campaign? Would it be likely to make you try a new cheese?
* and just in case you were wondering, I decided to resist the gifts but will try the cheese when I get the opportunity ;-)