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Top Chef Masters Art of Product Placement with Healthy Choice

Posted by Mark J. Miller on September 15, 2011 01:27 PM

Top Chef has been on Bravo for eight seasons and it is hard to imagine any one of the show’s many knife-wielding contestants just popping in some frozen food.

That will soon change, thanks to a new partnership between ConAgra’s Healthy Choice and the franchise. Healthy Choice is using Top Chef  to launch its latest line of frozen entrées, called Healthy Choice Top Chef Inspired Café Steamers, by sponsoring an original web series on BravoTV.com. 

The hit cook-off competition just started shooting its ninth season in Texas, so creating web-exclusive programming featuring its fan-favorited alumni makes sense to whet viewers' appetites for the next season, keep the Top Chef brand top of mind — and give advertisers new (branded entertainment) opportunities to reach Top Chef foodies, who are salivating for the new season.

Fans also can't get enough of Top Chef alumni, judging by the popularity of bringing back former contestants to star in Top Chef University online, and on-air as judges, with Top Chef Masters alum Hugh Acheson joining the judging table on the flagship series for season nine.

As should be expected with a partnership like this, part of the deal between Bravo and Healthy Choice is the co-branded Top Chef Healthy Showdown series on BravoTV.com. It pits four former contestants against one another as they try to become the “flavor ambassador” for Healthy Choice, using Healthy Choice products (naturally) for each challenge. (Where’s Flavor Flav when you need him?)

And, of course, Healthy Choice has secured get prime product placement slots for Top Chef Season 9, which is taking place in San Antonio, Austin, and Dallas, Texas, and is scheduled to debut in November. In the meantime, Top Chef Just Desserts is on-air, featuring Top Chef judge Gail Simmons and a roster of pastry pros. (What's next: Top Chef Appetizers?)

As Bravo keeps slicing and dicing the Top Chef brand online and on-air, of course, the hope is it keeps fans (and advertisers) happy — without making viewers nauseous and ready for Top Chef Fast: Turn Off Your TV!

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