Butterball to headline unscripted special

The turkey brand is looking to show that turkey is for everyone, not just older, white Canadians.

Turkey brand Butterball Canada is aiming to butter up diverse audiences with a new custom content program, including a one-hour special airing on Bell Media’s Gusto.

Production house Alibi Content came into contact with the brand through chance.

Executive producer Jessica Benchemam tells MiC the prodco worked frequently with celebrity chef Shahir Massoud, who happens to be a Butterball spokesperson. When Massoud mentioned some of the brand’s challenges to Alibi, the prodco – which doesn’t specialize strictly in branded content – found a way to hit on key points.

Essentially, says Benchemam, turkey is seen by some as an older, white person’s food of choice, but doesn’t necessarily reflect current Canada.

“New immigrants to Canada typically don’t eat a lot of turkey in their native countries,” Benchemam explains. “And millennials haven’t taken up the idea of having this big turkey dinner at Christmas or Thanksgiving or other holiday meals. There are a lot of people who aren’t actively looking at options for turkey for their everyday meals, but this is about showing different communities that they can integrate turkey very naturally into their meals, even the ones they’re already eating.”

And so was born the series Around the World in Eight Meals, which will feature a one-hour special on specialty net Gusto, 10 digital segments and a photography package. Following the Gusto special on June 5, it will be available on streamer Crave from June 6 to July 8. The digital episodes will also launch June 5.

It features Massoud visiting different families in Canada from various backgrounds and bringing them together to enjoy a traditional ethnic meal – such as Greek or Iranian – which incorporates turkey.

“It’s not a giant Thanksgiving turkey every time,” says Benchemam. “In fact, we made a point to not do anything like that. It does contain some kind of Butterball product, but it might be something like turkey thighs or turkey breast.”

The goal of the series is to show the versatility of the product and emphasize that it is relevant for more than just one kind of Canadian. Benchemam says it was a key goal to make the series very heartfelt and family-friendly.

For Alibi’s part, it’s done brand integrations before, but this was its first partnership with Bell Media on original content. It also brokered a distribution and media deal, and did the media buying itself. Paid media includes a 15-second commercial on Bell properties as well as some paid digital.