Food Chews on Multiplatform Campaign for Next Food Network Star

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Hilton Hotels, Ford Motor, Disney/Pixar, the National Basketball Association, Bon Appetit magazine and MySpace are on the menu of strategic partners Food Network is cooking with on its multiplatform marketing campaign for season three of The Next Food Network Star.

The campaign’s goal is to position the program as the most successful food-competition show on cable, according to vice president of marketing Susie Fogelson.

After dabbling with online promotion for an advertiser on YouTube earlier this year in which the network uploaded Ace of Cakescontent featuring cake designers creating a pastry replica of a Campbell’s Soup can, Food will place content on MySpace in its first series marketing effort with the social-networking site.

Food is working with MySpace to create an interactive page with episode recaps, extended videos on eliminated contestants and sneak peeks at upcoming installments. The content will also include digital video shot by the chefs, Folsom said.

For instance, cast members recently visited Los Angeles and dined at a trendy restaurant, shooting footage of themselves and the celebrities they spotted.

Fogelson said content placement on MySpace is rapidly becoming the “price of entry” for getting 18- to 49-year-old potential viewers to seek out a show. “You have to be in these mega-portals,” she added.

The contestants’ lives will also become fodder for on-air cross-promotional elements. For instance, the contestants will star in short-form videos for advertising partner Hilton called Hilton Journey Moments. The videos will be shown during each episode of the competition show, which debuts June 3 at 9 p.m. Contestants will discuss their life journeys, prompted and seasoned by their passion for food.

The hotel chain agreed to run the short-form videos on LodgeNet in hotels that feature that on-demand-entertainment service.

Long-time Food advertiser Ford will provide the prize for the winner, a Mercury Mariner. The attributes of the vehicle will be mentioned in tune-in spots for the series.

The series will also be tied to the Disney/Pixar summer release of Ratatouille.The link: Like the show’s contestants, the animated feature’s star, Remy the rat, aspires to be a chef. Also, Disney/Pixar will host a Cheese Tour for the film, with Food contestants conducting cooking demonstrations at these events.

Food created a content partnership with the NBA in 2006. As part of that effort, retired player Darryl Dawkins will play a prominent role in each episode, while Bon Appetit editors will participate in challenges that will earn the winner his or her recipe featured on the cover of the magazine.

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