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Grape commission features celebrity chefs in three new TV ads

by Rand Green | June 21, 2011

FRESNO, CA — The California Table Grape Commission, here, has completed production on two of three new television commercials “that will go into the mix on the Food Network” in early to mid-July, according to Jim Howard, vice president of the commission. Each commercial will feature a different award-winning celebrity chef.


A production crew checks the visuals as they shoot one of three new Food Network commercials for the California Table Grape Commission. Chef Tyson Cole, executive chef of Uchiko in Austin, TX, is shown preparing a California grape salad for the shoot. (Photo courtesy of the CTGC)
Featured in the new commercials are Tyson Cole, executive chef of Uchi and Uchiko restaurants in Austin, TX, and winner of the 2011 Best Chef Southwest James Beard Award; Jason Bertholld, executive chef of RN74 in San Francisco, which was a 2010 finalist in the James Beard Award’s Best New Restaurant category; and Jody Adams, chef-owner of Rialto Restaurant in Cambidge, MA, and 1997 winner of the Best Chef Northwest James Beard Award.


Along with the production of the commercials, the commission selected a blogger from each of the three cities, who has been involved “in social media in the food world,” and “invited them to come to the filming of the TV commercial and see behind the scenes,” Mr. Howard said.

“It is amazing how involved the process is for [creating] a 30-second commercial,” he continued. “It takes a lot of people, a lot of equipment and a lot of time. I am amazed every time I see it. I don’t know how they ever manage to make movies. All that effort for 30 seconds. I don’t know how they ever do two hours.”

Each of the three bloggers who was invited behind the scenes for the filming of the commercials was given a video camera and asked to create a behind-the-scenes video. “We’ll put those up on-line as soon as all three are done, and we’ll have a contest,” Mr. Howard said. “Whichever spot gets the most views, that blogger will get invited” to accompany the commission on a visit behind the scenes at the Food Network later in the year.

The three new commercials will air beginning in July. Other spots “that we ran last year” have already run this year, he said.

According to the outline of promotional programs on the commission’s web site, “a significant portion of the California Table Grape Commission’s consumer marketing program involves advertising and promotion with the Food Network cable channel, its Food Network magazine and”

For retailers, there are “a number of opportunities ... to join with us in our Food Network programs to promote grape sales,” it states.

In addition, the commission provides other promotional programs in support of retailers. They include a retail newsletter called “Fresh Ideas from California,” traffic radio tags and volume sales contests in association with sports events.

“Our quick-read, one-subject newsletter ... is sent out every three weeks during the fresh California grape season (May-January),” according to the web site. “Each issue has one main focus, which may be an upcoming promotion, ad tagging opportunities, new retail and consumer research or a volume-increase contest. No matter what the topic may be, [retailers will] find useful information” about promotional programs the commission is conducting that can help them to boost grape volume.

During the California grape season, retailers also “have the opportunity to tag their store name onto drive-time traffic radio spots. The program is available to those retailers who feature front-page, major-feature or multiple-variety California grape ads,” according to the web site.

From August through October, “chain retailers can participate in the Sports Venue Volume Sales Contest. Stores that run four-week customized programs that increase grape volume over the same period from the previous year will win tickets to a local sports venue of their choice. Winning stores receive ticket amounts based on their percentage of volume increase.”