Understanding viewer appeal for ITV’s flagship show ‘Hell’s Kitchen’

Going beyond regular research, our Culture + Trends solution provides future-facing insights that impact innovation, customer experience and branding challenges. Together with ITV we truly dug into the viewer’s experience for ‘Hell’s Kitchen’.

The challenge

The international research team at ITV wanted to commission research to provide a clearly articulated sales story for Hell’s Kitchen, one of their flagship shows, along with more bespoke ‘tool kits’ for individual target markets. They also wanted to identify any opportunities to tweak the format and content to appeal to people locally.

Our solution

Taking a multi-method approach, we focused on understanding what it was about Hell’s Kitchen that appealed at a universal level, and what nuances there were in our client’s chosen markets. ​

We began with an analysis of the macro-forces impacting the viewers’ relationship with TV today – specifically reality and cooking shows. We then examined our insights through our Human Drivers framework. Next, we engaged Illume Guides in each of our markets to do some on-the-ground trend spotting; we also organized in-depth interviews to get the local viewers’ perspective on what’s engaging them with the show, and what kind of show appeals more broadly. ​

We fed these insights into a quant/qual survey which explored the likes and dislikes of the show. ​Finally, our Guides each hosted a recorded film screening of the show with friends, where they discussed questions, and shared their opinions.​

​By bringing different insight streams together, we could identify and develop a rich narrative that tapped into the underlying human needs Hell’s Kitchen was serving.​


Our study identified several aspects that were universal in their appeal, helping us craft an overarching sales story. It also revealed some cultural and local nuances; we articulated those in market-specific infographics; these were to be used to promote the show in comparable markets moving forward.

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