Thursday, July 19, 2007

Brandtique: In Touch, 'Hell's Kitchen'

Brandtique: In Touch, 'Hell's Kitchen'
by David Goetzl

ON A RECENT EPISODE OF the Fox reality-competition series "Hell's Kitchen," the host Gordon Ramsay tells a winning trio their prize is "extraordinary." It's a photo shoot and exclusive interview with In Touch magazine, the weekly celebrity fish bowl/guilty pleasure. Two of the women jump around excitedly as if they've won the lottery in what has become standard in reality TV when a contestant is told he or she has won something that's often extraordinarily ordinary.
The blog TV Blend essentially told the women to chill: "the way they react, you would think ... that In Touch is Vanity Fair or something. Seriously, ladies, you're going to be in an issue that's discussing Nicole Richie's pregnancy in-depth."

The blogger, of course, has a point that intersects somewhere with the merits of highbrow foreign policy exposes versus photos and scoops from celebrity stakeouts.

Regardless, for the In Touch marketing side, the integration in "Hell's Kitchen" (one of the top product placements of the week, according to measurement firm iTVX) is the equivalent of a juicy scoop by their reporting colleagues: It provides enviable exposure for the brand in a propitious environment.

No doubt the principal audience for the series, where the British Ramsay puts the contestants through a "hellishly intense culinary boot camp," is in line with the young-female-skewing audience that devours In Touch news about Rachael Ray's marriage (maybe on the rocks, maybe not, according to the latest issue) and Kevin Federline's eagerness for his own reality show (this hasn't happened already?).

It's tough stuff for some to resist, and Ramsay could have offered up even more praise--as he's loath to do for would-be chefs on his show--for the magazine's business acumen. Only five years old, its circulation has soared and its publisher touts it as "the fastest-growing magazine on newsstands today." In less than a year after launch, its rate base doubled. And it's helped take the boom in celebrity magazines ushered in by Us Weekly to another level.

The title's integration on the July 9 "Hell's Kitchen" episode not only includes Ramsay's applause, but a mock cover with Ramsay and the three contestants. There's also footage from the photo shoot where one contestant says, "The best part ... is feeling like a rock star."

That extended scene is high-energy, and attempts to present a glamorous aura. And that's at the core of the In Touch brand, even if its coverage gets down and dirty.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

regardless of some individuals views on the subject, people from backwoods America have no link or access to local celebrities as we are not in that market. I myself would love to have an opportunity to be interviewed by a national magazine - I would be ecstatic.

~Working Classman in Mississippi