Healthy Choice Top Chef Showdown by Mediacom Chicago for Conagra Foods

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Healthy Choice Top Chef Showdown

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Industry TV Channels/Radio Stations and Programmes, Grocery and Other foods
Media Film
Market United States
Agency Mediacom Chicago
Released October 2011

Awards

One Show 2012
One Show Entertainment Online Branded Entertainment / Short-form Merit

Credits & Description

Category: Best brand or product integration into an existing TV show or series
Advertiser: CONAGRA FOODS
Product/Service: HEALTHY CHOICE MEALS
Agency: MEDIACOM
Managing Director/Mediacom Chicago: Matt Schwach (Mediacom)
Senior Partner/Group Account Director: Jennifer White Lee (Mediacom)
Managing Director Of Content: Adam Pincus (Mediacom)
Managing Partner/National Broadcast: Marc Wallen (Mediacom)
Partner/Communications Planning Director: Nancy Adema (Mediacom)
Director Of Programming And Integrations: Mark Grande (Mediacom)
Partner/Group Director: Karen Silverstein (Mediacom)
Media placement: Online Webseries - YouTube, VOD, BravoTV.com, HealthyChoice.com - 14 September 2011
Media placement: Full-Season Sponsorship - "Top Chef" (Bravo) - 2 November 2011
Media placement: Episode Integration - "Top Chef" (Bravo) - 25 January 2011
Media placement: Print Ad - Food & Wine Magazine - 15 December 2011

Campaign Description
Branded entertainment has seen steady growth in the United States.
However, integration into TV shows and films is often a challenging process for brands. Not only is it difficult for brands to find an organic fit into the right show, it’s also tough to get their products in front of the right audience.
Furthermore, brands have trouble finding the best opportunities to deliver on their business objectives. The allure of the brand often ends on screen, as TV integrations do not always lead to an increase in sales.
To find an organic fit for Healthy Choice we looked to the most popular food show on television, Bravo TV network’s ‘Top Chef’. The show was an ideal way to reach our target consumer; 53% of them have watched an episode in the past month.
The multi-platform campaign included an original web series, a season-long sponsorship, and multiple print and TV ads featuring our top culinary talent.
We got in front of the right audience with the right platform but we wanted to take the partnership a step further. Therefore, we enlisted the chefs to not just endorse the food, but to help create it.

Effectiveness
Since 2009, the frozen food category in the United States has seen year-to-year sales declines. Healthy Choice, a leading frozen food brand, was fighting the perception that frozen foods lack flavour and quality.
We needed to show consumers that Healthy Choice makes high quality, delicious meals prepared by real chefs.
So to give Healthy Choice meals true culinary credentials, we partnered with the award-winning reality competition show ‘Top Chef’. It features some of the world’s most renowned chefs, aligning Healthy Choice with a higher calibre of taste.
We launched with the 5-episode web series, ‘Top Chef Healthy Showdown’, hosted by celebrity chef Curtis Stone. Next, we created an engaging online destination at BravoTV.com and HealthyChoice.com to showcase the web series and promote the partnership.
Next, Healthy Choice was presenting sponsor for all episodes of ‘Top Chef Season 9’, featuring dozens of verbal mentions, grand prize branding and in-show integration.
For example in 1 episode, contestants were tasked with preparing a healthy, delicious meal for Healthy Choice’s community food drive. The winning chef received $15,000 from Healthy Choice.
We gave Healthy Choice culinary credentials that consumers could really sink their teeth into. The winner of Top Chef Healthy Showdown’along with other Top Chef talent re-imagined an existing line of products. They helped create an all-new line of meals available in stores across the United States. Print and TV ads featuring our Top Chef talent promoted the products.
This campaign was the biggest brand partnership ever for the Bravo network, and it was the first time ever that Top Chef co-created a product with an advertising partner.

Implementation
The partnership launched with an original video series, Top Chef Healthy Showdown, featuring popular former ‘chef-testants’, competing in health-conscious cooking competition for $25,000.
Top Chef Healthy Showdown was featured on BravoTV.com, Hulu and video-on-demand where consumers were seeking Top Chef content. We encouraged social conversation on Twitter and Facebook and ran show promos and teasers on-air on Bravo and as pre-roll across NBCUni digital properties.
Next, Healthy Choice was presenting sponsor for all episodes of Top Chef Season 9. Finally, the winner of the Top Chef Healthy Showdown appeared in a buzz-worthy episode and drove viewers to our web series.

Outcome
We did the unthinkable: we made frozen food into a culinary experience.
Our partnership with Top Chef drastically improved consumer perception for Healthy Choice. Studies showed a 42% increase in consumers describing the taste of Healthy Choice as “great”, and shoppers voted it the 2012 Product of the Year in the frozen food category.
More importantly, sales of Healthy Choice Top Chef Café steamers jumped an unprecedented 18.1%. In addition, although double-digit sales growth is difficult for CPG brands, our strategy improved all the product sales. Sales for the broader product line, Healthy Choice Café Steamers, increased by an equally impressive 11%.
Our web series had over 300,000 views on video-on-demand, and we generated significant nationwide press coverage, including a non-paid in-show mention on top-rated talk show, ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’.