Chef Artois is the new culinary web series SJC produced in partnership with the Bokeh Collective for Stella Artois and Toronto Life. With a goal to reinvigorate and support Canada’s restaurant scene through Rally for Restaurants, it contains all the ingredients of a successful branded content collaboration.
Chef Artois is airing weekly on Wednesdays on Toronto Life‘s Instagram and Facebook channels and Stella Artois’ YouTube channel until October 28, 2020. If you haven’t yet caught one of the first sizzling episodes, here’s a quick synopsis: Each 10-minute episode is filmed in a Toronto restaurant with a live audience and hosted by acclaimed Canadian television and radio host, Pay Chen. Two dinner guests are randomly selected to recreate the restaurant’s iconic dish (Marben’s exquisite modern take on a Scotch Egg, for example.) In a heated battle, the contestants get less than an hour to cook up the delicious entrée. Each signature dish is judged by the restaurant’s head chef and a victor is crowned, earning them a prize pack from Toronto Life and Stella Artois Canada valued at over $1,000, including a gift card to the featured restaurant.
The results from Stella Artois’s YouTube channel following the first two episodes speak for themselves:
- Average total views: 170,164
- Average earned views (based on those who view your video ad, then later watch another video on your linked YouTube channel, within 7 days of the initial view): 64
- Average completion rate: 22.5% (against a benchmark of 18-22% for videos 10 minutes in length)
- Average watch time: Over 4.5 minutes
“These are the highest YouTube engagement numbers Stella Artois has had to date,” says Michelle Skea, Senior Brand Manager for Stella Artois and Hoegaarden. “We are impressed with the incredible production quality and clever alignment with our Rally for Restaurants initiative. And knowing that the program would be syndicated through SJC’s media brands, it saved on the investment required on our end. Thanks to the SJC team for all your work day and night to drive such a strong execution!”
Here are some of the ingredients that make the execution so unique:
Brand Alignment for Stella Artois
While producing a Safe Set Studio video for Covid-19, Carmen Lago, account director for SJC Content along with team members from the Bokeh Collective, were inspired to find a way to create an original web series that would help restaurants at a time when they couldn’t open their doors to the public. When Carmen heard Todd Allen, VP of Marketing for Labatt speak on a podcast about the launch of the Rally for Restaurants initiative, they knew they had found their match. After a series of big ideas with Labatt, SJC and Bokeh, the competitive culinary concept of Chef Artois emerged as the initiative that aligned best with the Stella Artois brand. Toronto Life joined as the ideally suited platform and co-branded partner to deliver the message and amplify the idea across its channels.
The culinary competition is in continuation of Stella Artois’ Rally for Restaurants – an online gift card program that provides restaurants and bars across Canada with immediate financial relief as a result of the global pandemic. The program encourages Canadians to purchase a gift card valued at $25 or $50. Stella Artois adds an additional $10 to the value of every gift card purchased, which goes directly to restaurants, bars and pubs. To date, Rally for Restaurants has sold over 14,000 gift cards and has injected over $600,000 into the restaurant industry.
Multi-platform promotions across SJC brands
As momentum for the series increases week over week, episode views on Toronto Life more than tripled from 92,000 views for Episode 1 to almost 300,000 views for Episode 3. A huge benefit for Stella Artois has been the ability to syndicate the series through SJC’s portfolio of trusted media brands and tap into its existing audience nation-wide. While the episodes are released each Wednesday on Toronto Life’s Instagram and Facebook channels, as well as Stella Artois’ YouTube channel, we run promo spots, digital ads, eblasts and social content across our other brands including Maclean’s, FASHION, Chatelaine and FLARE. Each episode also airs weekly on Toronto Life’s YouTube channel.
Here’s a look at some of the promotional multi-brand, multi-platform content:
Promo videos: 15-second, 30-second and 60-second versions
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In case you missed it, check out this week's episode of Chef Artois—a new culinary miniseries by @StellaArtoisCa and Toronto Life. Set at the charming French bistro Lapinou, home cooks Ashley Hassard and Danton Lamar compete to impress chef Jamie Ullrich with the perfect garganelli pasta. Watch the full episode at the link in bio.
Toronto Life articles
Prior to each episode, Toronto Life publishes a promo article with 60-second teaser video that is pushed out on social and across other SJC Media brands. With the release of each new episode, Toronto Life runs an article with the highlights and full episode embedded. Here’s a sample for Episode 2 and all episode recaps are filtered to this Chef Artois category page.
Digital ads, Newsletters & Emails (leveraging SJC Media properties)
A production dream team
To produce the series, SJC Content worked alongside the Bokeh Collective, which boasts an impressive resume in Canadian TV production and cinematography. Justin Harding, Chef Artois Showrunner, Rob Brunner, Chef Artois Series Director, Ryan Saw, Chef Artois Director of Photography and Amy Hosking, Chef Artois Writer, have worked on such renowned shows as Amazing Race Canada, MasterChef Canada, Top Chef Canada, Come Dine with me Canada and Home to Win. This experience and expertise gives the Chef Artois episodes their cinematographic flair.
Branded content is a fun and creative way for brands to connect with their audiences, especially when incorporating the drama of a challenge-based, reality TV approach. Viewers get engaged in the stories and the characters, creating a positive and memorable brand experience week after week.
From our SJC production team working alongside the talent of the Bokeh Collective to Toronto Life’s branded content and marketing groups, we were thrilled to be a part of this special branded content execution that rallies much-needed support for restaurants in this era of Covid-19.
Episode 5 of Chef Artois launched today; find out how the contestmentas play with fire at Momofuku Kōjin.
You can watch all past episodes here.