I don't know about you, but some of my early weekend mornings (brought about by our way-too-early-to-rise 6 month old daughter) are spent catching up on some of our recorded shows. This morning I was watching a show on The Food Network called "The Cooking Loft" hosted by a dear college friend of mine, Alex Guarnaschelli - who by the way is the executive chef at NYC restaurant/hotspot Butter -- I strongly encourage you to visit if you haven't already.
But I digress! The reason I bring up this show is because as I was going through my normal routine of skipping through the first commercial break, I saw something called "Short Stories" - which as it turns out was a "show within a show" occupying the three commercial slots for the 1/2 hour Cooking Loft segment. I haven't yet been able to find any info or video footage of it online (which in and of itself is somewhat surprising) but the premise of the three-party commercial was two sisters - one the owner of an L.A. based cooking school called HipCooks and the other a jewelry designer who was using the cooking school space as the venue for a launch party - preparing for this event -- the cook cooking and the jewelry designer decorating the space.
What got me to stop and watch all three segments of this commercial montage was not so much the story line as it was the fact that the brand and messaging of the show's sponsor -- SoyJoy -- was integrated in a tastefully subtle yet impactful way. It was one of the few "advertising as content" efforts in recent memory that was done well enough to appeal to my consumer side and make me not hit the fast forward button on the remote.
So to all agencies, brands and creative shops out there trying to figure out a way to keep the TV-watching audience engaged during commercial time, I would highly recommend taking a look at this effort for inspiration -- and to whoever produced this "Short Stories" idea-- bravo!