I was a big big fan of Top Chef when it first debuted, but I have to admit that I've lost interest over the seasons. No reason, really, I just don't watch that much television and it has fallen off of my radar. But not the marketing.
A friend on Twitter alerted me to this week's episode where the retailer Target was embedded in the cooking challenge for the celebrity chef contestants.
All the chefs were in a Target store, and had to prepare something using only Target merchandise and only Target food. Briiilllaaant. You can watch a clip here from the Bravo website (notice the Target banner ad above the video!).
For years Target has been trying to up its game on groceries, and they have recently finished a huge capital improvement project to rehaul many of its stores. So the fact that they used a television show, with many very celebrated chefs, to highlight their cookware lines and food products is product placement brought to a whole new level.
When you actually watch the episode, the chefs are preparing the food right in the aisles of a Target store, so we also get to see bedding and school supplies and housewares and bottled water and a whole gamut of Target merchandise sitting right in front of us as we watch the action.
Absolutely fascinating to watch from a marketing perspective, a total brand experience completely consistent with Target and what it is trying to accomplish. And clearly consistent for Top Chef as well.
What's your experience? Jim.