BEF ’12 preview: Retail Reality

Ahead of realscreen's third annual Branded Entertainment Forum in NYC tomorrow, we look at three reality competition series that are acting as the launching pad for products via partnerships with top retailers.
October 19, 2012

Ahead of realscreen‘s third annual Branded Entertainment Forum in NYC tomorrow (October 23), we look at three reality competition series that are acting as the launching pad for products via partnerships with top retailers.


Supermarket Superstars

supermarket superstars

PREMIERING: The air-date for the Lifetime Network series is TBD.

THE TEAM: The Weinstein Company (Project Runway) and Studio Lambert (Undercover Boss); retailers involved, TBD.

THE DEAL: Actor and model Stacy Keibler is set to host the 10-part reality competition series in which aspiring food product inventors pitch their ideas to have their creation launched nationally in a major grocery chain.

Each contestant will pitch their concepts to three mentors, who critique each idea, with the contestants then refining their products before they’re presented to a top supermarket buyer.

Every episode will see a winner receiving an investment in their product and a chance to return to the season finale, where one product will be the ultimate “Supermarket Superstar.”

“In addition to having a great concept that represents everything a reality competition show should be, Supermarket Superstars is a natural fit for branded content,” says Rob Sharenow, exec VP of programming at Lifetime Networks.

“We’ve had a lot of success in this space with Project Runway and the very nature of Supermarket Superstars‘ premise presents another unique opportunity to organically incorporate third-party brands into our programming.”


Recipe to Riches

recipe to riches

PREMIERED: Recipe to Riches first aired on Canada’s Food Network in October 2011.

THE TEAM: Toronto’s Temple Street Productions produced the series, while Canadian marketing communications agency Capital C sold the format rights to FremantleMedia. Grocery chain Loblaws was the retailer at the center of the Canadian series.

THE DEAL: Recipe to Riches‘ interactive format features a cross-country search to find the best family recipe to sell as a new product in Loblaws stores nationwide, as part of the grocery chain’s President’s Choice food line. The recipe that received the most audience votes would also earn its creator a large cash prize.

FremantleMedia sold the format to Slovakia and to the Czech Republic’s TV Barrandov, the latter of which drew a 15 to 24 demo and outperformed the broadcaster’s primetime average by 111%, while the original version was consistently one of Food Network Canada’s highest-rated shows for all viewers. The second season of the Canadian version is slated for the fall.

“There’s a huge enthusiasm for Recipe To Riches, not only from international broadcasters but also from the viewers, because it really is the first truly interactive food show; in Idols, you can buy and enjoy the music, [while] in Recipe to Riches, the viewer can actually buy and taste the recipe they’ve seen being made on the show,” says Rob Clark, director of global entertainment development at FremantleMedia.


Fashion Star

fashion star

PREMIERED: Season one aired in March 2012 on NBC in the U.S.

THE TEAM: Electus, 5×5 Media, Magical Elves and EJD Productions coproduce the series, while the first season’s retailers included Macy’s, H&M and Saks Fifth Avenue.

THE DEAL: The 10-episode, Elle Macpherson-hosted first season of the competition series saw 14 designers battling to win a chance to have their clothing sold in three major retail chains.

Mentors Jessica Simpson, Nicole Richie and John Varvatos helped contestants create designs that could be purchased in the chains’ stores the day after the show’s airing. The final winner, Kara Laricks, won a US$6 million collection deal with all three retailers.

Since its launch, Electus International has secured distribution of the first season in nearly 75 countries, including Australia (Network 10), Canada (CTV), French Canada (Mlle, a specialty channel of TVA), South Korea (CJ E & M), Brazil (Globosat), Latin America (Fox International Channels Latin America) and Asia’s Diva Universal, which will air it in 20 countries.

The distributor has also sold the format rights to Australia (Network 10), Germany (Tresor TV), France (Shine France) and Turkey (Sera Films).

“This idea of commerce and creative coming together is a great opportunity not only here in the U.S., but internationally as we start to film local productions around the world,” says John Pollak, president of Electus International. The second season airs in the U.S. in the fall.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.