Cooking up branded entertainment

The Canadian cooking competition series Recipe to Riches, currently airing on Food Network Canada and Global Television, has brought a prodco, a communications agency and a Canadian brand together in partnership. But don't call it product integration.
October 24, 2011

The Canadian cooking competition series Recipe to Riches, currently airing on Food Network Canada and Global Television, has brought a prodco (Toronto-based Temple Street Productions), a communications agency (Capital C) and a Canadian brand (grocery chain Loblaws) together in partnership. But Capital C founder and CEO Tony Chapman says calling that partnership a product integration is a gross understatement.

“A typical show’s product integration is, ‘Let’s get a Pepsi cup in front of Simon on The X Factor, let’s get Erica driving a Ford on Being Erica,’” says Chapman, who is also a judge on the new reality show. “What we have on Recipe to Riches isn’t product integration, it’s product creation.”

The show, which premiered last Thursday at 9 p.m. EST on Shaw Media’s Food Network and repeats Saturdays at 8 p.m. on Global, gives Canadians the opportunity to turn their family recipes into a product available at Loblaws stores across the country as part of its President’s Choice line.

A Recipe to Riches winner is chosen each week for one of the seven categories on the show, with the recipe being turned into a product which hits Loblaws store shelves by that weekend, so viewers can taste the product for themselves, explains Barb Williams, senior VP of content at Shaw Media.

“With this, we are getting the products to people so they can taste it,” she says. “You have to taste the food to get it, so the partnership with Loblaws is an integral piece to the Recipe to Riches story.”

Temple Street Productions managing director John Young says when his company came up with the idea for the show around two years ago they knew that the bragging rights of having a family recipe made and sold in supermarkets was something they wanted to add to the traditional cash prize of reality television shows.

Loblaws was the first and only company Temple Street contacted for the partnership and they signed on immediately, says Young.

In addition to promoting each week’s winning product with in-store displays and signage, Loblaws will be hosting events to promote the week’s winning product and getting customers to taste it. At the end of the seven weeks, Canadians will vote for the winning product, and the contestant with the most votes will go home with CDN$250,000 and his or her product will find a more permanent spot on Loblaws store shelves.

The show is being shopped around to international distributors such as the BBC, and Temple Street and Capital C are pitching it to U.S. networks within the next few weeks, says Young. Next year, a major U.S. broadcast network, NBC, will unveil another competition program hinging on product creation and partnership with major retailers, Fashion Star.

The pact between Temple Street and Capital C, announced last summer, also has a few more branded content buns in the oven, with shows in various stages of development, Young adds.

(From Media in Canada)

About The Author
Managing editor with realscreen publication, an international print and online magazine that covers the non-fiction film and television industries. Darah is an award-winning journalist who has spent over two decades covering a wide range of issues from real estate and urban development to immigration, politics and human rights, primarily with The Vancouver Sun. Prior to joining realscreen, she was editor of Stream Daily, realscreen's sister publication covering the dynamic global digital video industry. She also served a stint as a war reporter in Afghanistan for television and print, and was a national business blogger with Yahoo Canada.