Kitchen Fantasies Fulfilled by Food Network

By Discovery Inc. Archives
Cover image for  article: Kitchen Fantasies Fulfilled by Food Network

The kitchen is the centerpiece of the home.  It's more than a place to prepare meals; it's a gathering spot for friends and family, the hub around which the whole household revolves.  Nobody understands the form and function of the kitchen better than Food Network, which is making one lucky fan's dreams come true with their new $250,000 Fantasy Kitchen Giveaway.™  The largest multi-platform sweepstakes in the network's history, Fantasy Kitchen Giveaway -- which begins today -- includes editorial and promotional content spanning Food Network's linear, digital and print platforms and is amplified across additional Scripps Networks Interactive channels.

I spoke to Karen Grinthal, Senior Vice President, National Ad Sales and Sara Schwartz, Director, Ad Sales Marketing (both for Food Network and Cooking Channel) about the development of this first-ever initiative.

Ingrid Laub:  HGTV has been giving away homes for many years.  Is this Food Network's first promotion of this scope?

Karen Grinthal:  Yes.  We did a promotion some years ago called Dine In, Dine Out.  The biggest difference, besides the prize being larger, is that we actually created a kitchen.  In prior promotions we were just giving away money.  This is a cash prize, but we wanted to also help people envision what they can do in their own kitchen with the advice of experts and a good budget.  We challenged designer Shea McGee and chef/restauranteur Scott Conant (both pictured above) with creating the Food Network Fantasy Kitchen.  We built this ultimate chef's kitchen, which became a platform for our content and integration, on a sound stage.

Laub:  How else is this promotion differentiated from others in the marketplace?

Grinthal:  We had the opportunity to think creatively as we worked with sponsors, ensuring that their products were well showcased.  The level of trust and authority that Food Network has with our consumers about what it means to have a great kitchen and how products can integrate into their lives is pretty unique.

Laub:  Were sponsors involved in the ideation phase?

Grinthal:  We went out with a concept, but we custom-tailored what we did in the kitchen once advertisers came on board.  For example, Cabinets to Go is one of the sponsors, so we used cabinet sizes built specifically for Bissell's Crosswave and Culligan's water filtration system.  Those were design elements that we altered to make sure that the products were integrated in a specific way.

Laub:  Sara, did your group take the lead and then reach out to all the different teams ... linear, digital, social, etc?

Sara Schwartz:  This has been two years in the making.  Our team took the lead on development.  Then, to bring it to life, we worked with a lot of different departments across the company.  Our internal brand teams determined how we talk about it on every platform and used that to create content for each space.  Also, we are really able to benefit from the partnership and insights of HGTV's home sweepstakes activation arm.

Grinthal:  This points to something that's been evolving over a period of time: We don't think of ourselves as a television brand, and a digital brand, and a magazine brand.  We're one brand.  When we go out to advertisers, it's expected that we leverage all the different platforms that represent Food.

Schwartz:  Right.  It's an established way of working that everyone has gotten used to.

Grinthal:  Database management is really important in a sweepstakes, and the HGTV team understands how to drive audiences and entries. Fantasy Kitchen is strategically placed between two different home giveaways.  Learning more about the Fantasy Kitchen Giveaway was an opt-in for people entering the HGTV Dream Home Giveaway and the response was even greater than we expected.  The awareness factor among people who already have an interest in home and design is tremendous.

Schwartz:  About three weeks out, we launched some short billboards on air to encourage opt-in for the reminder newsletter.  The week prior to launch we started to tease it on social through Instagram and Facebook and digital newsletters. 

Laub:  What elements were timed with the February 22 launch?

Schwartz:  A plethora of video and custom content, both editorial that our teams shot in the Fantasy Kitchen space to give our fans tips and tricks for greater culinary success and advertorial videos that we've integrated with our advertisers.  For example, there's a great video we shot with the American Standard Avery Touchless Kitchen Faucet about the best ways to wash your fruits and vegetables.  There's video with our talent, like Scott Conant talking about how, once you've created the fantasy kitchen space, you can set yourself up for culinary success with delicious recipes, entertaining and creating great moments with your family and friends.  On air, we have promotional spots that really drive viewers online to enter. We'll be rolling out additional content on air as well as through show integrations.  We have a Facebook live event with Scott Conant on Monday, February 26.

Grinthal:  And the magazine has a spread as well.

Laub:  How long is the entry period?

Schwartz:  It ends on April 16, so it's about 54 days.  The home promotions team has given us some insight around the magic number based on impact and frequency.

Laub:  How many entries would you like to see?

Grinthal:  We expect it to be in the tens of millions.  People are actually allowed to enter more than once.

Schwartz:  It's once per day on foodnetwork.com and once per day on geniuskitchen.com.  So, technically, you're able to enter twice daily.

Laub:  Are there any other opportunities for sponsors you're working on?

Grinthal:  We're planning the Fantasy Kitchen Giveaway for 2019.  We were thrilled to get six sponsors in the very first one we've ever done.  That was tremendous for us.  We're looking forward to sharing all of the results from this year with our sponsors and coming through with categories that didn't get filled this year.  We're bringing people to the set and helping them see what the possibilities are as we go into next year and get a whole new fantasy kitchen.

Laub:  Now, the most important question: As a journalist writing about the giveaway, am I eligible?  Because renovating my kitchen is absolutely my No. 1 dream.

Grinthal:  I would think you are!

Photo credit: Food Network

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