A New Spin On Product Placement: The Rotisserie Channel

Have a gander at my latest post for the Advertising Week Blog.

Read the original here.


Picture it now. A cold March night, winter holding onto its ego with one last hoorah; the wind is blowing, the trees are shaking, the snow is falling. You can’t be bothered to venture out into the messy storm. You grab a hot chocolate, maybe a loved one, and curl into your Snuggie for a nice evening of reading by the Rotisserie Channel.

Yes, the Rotisserie Channel.

Starting February 28th, two rows of glistening, rotating, roasting chickens joined the likes of the Aquarium Channel, the Sunset Channel and the ever loved Fireplace Channel (now in HD!) for us Canadians subscribed to Rogers TV.

Channel 208 is a 24/7 display of (presumably magical non-burning) chickens cooking in the oven.

Mouth-watering, no? Who’s behind this little stunt? None other than Canadian chicken cooking giant Swiss Chalet.

News TV ads came out recently showing a young employee glued to the rotisserie with his camcorder, explaining how amazing a 24 hour rotisserie channel could be.

Audiences had a chuckle and moved on, unaware of what was about to become.

Then this happened.

Personally, I’ve got to give it to these guys for creativity and ingenuity.

The BBDO Toronto spot was a good one, but it’s their joint effort with media agency MEC Canada and the Rogers cable advertising sales team, that took it to the next level. Aren’t we all on the lookout for the best way to bring our brands to life? And in a world so full of product placement that Britney Spears can make $500,000 for one music video, aren’t we all trying to find a better way to do it?

For a few years now, there have been loud consumer complaints about product placements having gone too far. They don’t mind them sprinkled in here and there, but to have a 5 minute scene of a movie dedicated to men talking awkwardly about their car if a bit off-putting. So why would this will work?

Frankly, it’s a bit hilarious. And that might be what makes it work. They’re not hiding anything or trying to blend in, they’re just showing you what you want – golden chicken.

What really intrigued me though was a part of the Marketing Magazine article detailing the measure of success. “Croswell (Jenny Croswell, broadcast supervisor at MEC) said MEC will consider the Rotisserie Channel successful if it can pull in similar viewership numbers to Rogers’ Aquarium Channel.

Rogers currently monitors its “esthetic channels” (i.e. Sunset, Fireplace and Aquarium) on a monthly basis and in January, 166,950 set-top boxes tuned into the Aquarium Channel for an average of 11 minutes per viewing session.” This is the media agency’s measure of success and in that sense it works for them.

What I’ll be looking forward to see is the actual influx of customers. The channel will feature promo codes that the viewer can take to the Swiss Chalet Facebook page for a print-at-home coupon. And that is where it gets interesting for me. How often do you get a craving for food after seeing it on TV? Just this month I blurted out my desire to have an ice cream cake for my birthday after seeing a commercial (lucky me, one showed up for Valentines in response – my birthday is still months away). And doesn’t glistening, roasting chicken make the mouths of most water?

Yes, yes it does.

So it stands to reason that the Rotisserie Channel will spark more than a few cravings, which can be dangerously easy to satisfy with Swiss Chalet’s online ordering system AND delivery service. Those promo codes will be what I want to see results on. Will viewership be high? Sure; it’s kitschy and maybe funny when your in-laws visit. But tracking the promo codes will be where the real success should be measured. This whole channel, in my opinion, should be seen as an experiment on just how far you have to push to turn a craving into a purchase.



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