12 October 2015


Read the full story in Ad Age

 Push is meant to help restaurant brand reach both consumers and customers

Sysco Corp. is tinkering with a new recipe for reaching chefs. The sales company, well known in restaurant kitchens but virtually unseen by diners is

sponsoring a limited run series called “Chopped: Impossible” that debuts Oct. 22 on the Food Network. While consumer facing companies often try to get their products into shows, the push is something different for Sysco. The company is trying to both promote its products to current and potential customers and communicate its messaging to consumers, who largely never see the brand unless it rolls by them on the side of a delivery truck.

Chief Marketing Officer Bill Goetz said Sysco began looking into marketing ideas with the channel la few years back, as research showed that more than 70% of independent restaurant owners watch the Food Network at least once a week. Sysco’s public relationship with the Food Network began in 2013, when two episodes of “Restaurant: Impossible” featured the company’s products. That same year, the show’s star, chef Robert Irvine, became an official Sysco brand ambassador.

Sysco provides pantry items the competiting chefs must use on the s how, helps run a related online contest and gets a thank-you at the end of each broadcast. Sysco, meanwhile, will mention the show in full-page print ads in trade publications and through its thousands of sales representatives who call on restaurants each day.

While the Food Network would not say what percentage of its viewers are chefs and restaurateurs Sysco covets, Karen Grinthal, senior VP-ad sales at the network, noted anecdotally that the network’s ratings are actually higher from midnight to 4 a.m. than they are in the daytime. That viewership suggests those coming home from a night at the restaurant could be clicking on the channel.

“While it’s a b-to-b company, this is a great consumer channel for them,”  said Maureen Berry, senior VP-managing director at Sysco’s agency, GSD&M.


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