Food Network dispenses advertising…with chips

Designed to catch the eye of wayward snackers, the channel has launched a promotional campaign behind two of its shows, using on-vending machine stickers and disruptive print ads.

When was the last night you got cooking advice at a vending machine?

Canadians will soon get to experience the pleasure of knowing a vending machine can produce a whole meal, thanks to a new, 500-vending machine promotional campaign launched by the Food Network in support of its new show, Top Chef Masters.

The campaign, developed and executed in-house by Canwest, features a red-and-white sticker on the upper corner of the vending machines – located in the munchie zones of office buildings, educational and health care facilities and manufacturers – advising people that they can, in fact, ‘Make an original dish from the ingredients found here.’

The idea was inspired by an episode of Top Chef Masters, which premieres Jan. 9 at 10 p.m. and is hosted by Queer Eye for the Straight Guy‘s Ted Allen, in which up-and-coming chefs participate in a ‘quick-fire vending machine challenge,’ Solange Bernard, director of marketing, lifestyle channels, Canwest Broadcasting, tells MiC.

‘Food Network was interested in developing unique ads and executing them in unexpected locations,’ she explains. ‘As the channel has never before advertised on vending machines this was a great way to reach a new audience.

‘Part of the strategy behind this execution was to continue changing perceptions of the channel,’ she adds. ‘Food Network isn’t just for chefs and those who love to cook but has content for anyone that enjoys food and entertainment.’

The Top Chef Masters campaign is joined in the Canadian mediascape by a print campaign for the new season of Chopped, airing Saturday Jan. 9 at 3 p.m. The campaign, also developed and executed in-house, features half-page ads in the National Post, Metro, Toronto Star and Ottawa Citizen. The ads are designed to look like regular newspaper copy, but with a giant butcher’s knife through the words. The Food Network is the only advertiser on the page in which the ads appear.

‘The use of the large cleaver chopping through text, which is the most dominant feature in the ad, stands out on a page as readers wouldn’t expect to see a cleaver smack in the middle of their paper. It’s impossible to miss,’ Bernard says.

Both shows will also be promoted through 30-second spots on conventional and speciality Canwest channels.