For the first time, Scripps Networks is featuring an advertiser across multiple shows airing on all six of its networks, as Marie Callender's pops up in series and specials in November and December.
The ConAgra Foods Inc. brand, known for pot pies and other frozen foods, teamed up with Scripps in 2014 for a military-themed home renovation special, "A Hero's Welcome," which aired across all six Scripps networks. Marie Callender's saw a 9% sales lift during that promotion, according to Brand Director Casey Richards.
This year, Marie Callender's is being featured on DIY Network, HGTV and Great American Country in an episode of "Kitchen Crashers" in which a veteran's kitchen is renovated, which premiered Monday on DIY Network. It will also be included in a Travel Channel special called "Travel Channel's American Heroes," with stories of traveling service men and women, and on Food Network and Cooking Channel in an episode of "Guy's Grocery Games" with contestants from the military. Also, the Food Network plans to re-air last year's "A Hero's Welcome" special on Veterans Day.
John Dailey, senior VP-corporate ad sales, Scripps Networks Interactive, said it worked to create content that was appropriate for Marie Callender's without veering too far from typical episodes.
"We can find solves" that keep the shows looking like other episodes while accommodating "themes and in some cases casting that were appropriate to the effort," said Mr. Dailey, adding that the United Service Organizations (USO) helped with some of the casting. "We think viewers see through obvious integrations. Our consumer research tells us that all the time."
The effort ties into Marie Callender's Comforts From Home Project in support of U.S. troops. The brand is promoting the push with digital and social media, in-store signage, a free standing newspaper insert, and wraps on November issues of Allrecipes, Better Homes & Gardens, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart Living and Taste of Home. It will also make 50 cent donations to the USO when consumers enter codes from certain Marie Callender's boxes.
Mr. Dailey said Marie Callender's was already a big advertising partner with Scripps and he thinks the partnership "drives a bigger ad commitment on their part."