Recipe for branded content success: An inside look at Chef Artois

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.

Community Outreach

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

Social posts

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)

Chef Artois digital promo

Print ad

Chef Artois Toronto Life ad

Behind-the-scenes photography

Chef Artois behind the scenes

 

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.

Compelling storytelling

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. 

Toronto Life announces CHEF ARTOIS, an original culinary series in partnership with Stella Artois that brings life back into local restaurants

(TORONTO, ON) September 3, 2020 – Today, Toronto Life is partnering with Stella Artois Canada to launch CHEF ARTOIS, an eight-part cooking series showcasing renowned chefs, their restaurants and their inspiring trademark dishes. Hosted by acclaimed Canadian television and radio host, Pay Chen, the culinary competition is in continuation of 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.

With the tremendous impact of Covid-19 on the restaurant industry, the goal of this new series is to reinvigorate and support Canada’s restaurant scene. Each 10-minute episode of CHEF ARTOIS, filmed in a Toronto restaurant with a live audience, features two dinner guests who are randomly selected to recreate a restaurant’s iconic dish, from Madrina Bar y Tapas’ infamous Spanish Paella to Marben’s exquisite modern take on a Scotch Egg.

In a heated battle, the contestants get less than an hour to cook up the delicious entrée, putting their skills to the test. 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 and gift cards for Rally for Restaurants.

“Toronto is home to some of the best restaurants and has such a vibrant and multicultural food scene,” says Mike Bascom, Senior Director of Marketing, Stella Artois Canada. “We’re delighted to partner with Toronto Life to bring a new and exciting series to Canadians through CHEF ARTOIS. Our local restaurants are the heart of our communities and need our support now more than ever.”

As Canadians begin to adjust to the “new” way of dining, CHEF ARTOIS reminds guests of their favourite local restaurants and dishes and encourages them to return where they can once again enjoy meals inside safely. The series also brings light to the incredible culinary talent Toronto has to offer.

The first episode of CHEF ARTOIS launches on Wednesday, September 9 at 12:00 p.m. EST through Toronto Life‘s Facebook and Instagram channels and Stella Artois Canada’s YouTube channel. Episode and series promo spots will run across Chatelaine, Maclean’s, FASHION and FLARE. After its debut, a new episode will be released at the same time every Wednesday and run until October 28, 2020.

Get a sneak peek here:

CHEF ARTOIS’ exciting, innovative video format is created and produced by St. Joseph Communications (SJC)’s Content division and the award-winning production studio, the Bokeh Collective.

The Stella Artois Rally for Restaurants program was launched as a result of the devastating impact caused by Covid-19 to the hospitality industry. The online gift card program supports all restaurants, bars and pubs across Canada in an effort to stimulate the industry. 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. For more information about the program and to learn how you can support local restaurants in your community, visit, www.rallyforrestaurants.ca.

About Toronto Life
Toronto Life is a brand for people who care about Toronto, the country’s most vibrant city, and want to get the most out of it. It provides insight into the personalities and events that shape the landscape, and helps readers make smart choices about everything from restaurants and shopping to real estate and culture. Through in-depth reporting, intelligent analysis and quality writing, Toronto Life offers an exciting, essential and entertaining guide to life in Toronto. For more information visit torontolife.com and join the conversation on Twitter (@torontolife), Facebook (facebook.com/TorontoLife) and Instagram (@torontolife).

About SJC Media
St. Joseph Communications (SJC)’ Media division is Canada’s largest privately held media company. SJC Media publishes some of Canada’s most iconic and celebrated media brands including Chatelaine, FASHION Magazine, FLARE, HELLO! Canada, Maclean’s, MARIAGE Québec, Ottawa Magazine, Quill & Quire, Toronto Life, Weddingbells and the Where Group of Magazines in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa and Toronto. SJC Media also operates Strategic Content Labs, which creates custom content, websites, apps and content management solutions for some of Canada’s leading brands and institutions. For more information, visit stjoseph.com.

About SJC Content
Experts in high-volume content for retail, St. Joseph Communications’ Content division create it all under one roof – from marketing strategy to execution. Whether it’s product e-commerce, automotive, on-figure lifestyle, customized room set-ups or food, SJC Content captures photo and video in its full-service, multi-studio facility. The company creates compelling creative assets and leverages them across every applicable touchpoint, from social and broadcast to package design and digital signage. SJC Content is a division of St. Joseph Communications, Canada’s largest privately owned media and marketing company and one of Canada’s Best Managed Companies for the last 17 years. For more information visit stjoseph.com.

About Stella Artois
Stella Artois is part of a Belgian brewing tradition dating back to 1366. It is the best-selling Belgian beer in the world and served in 95 countries. Stella Artois is an authentic, premium, blonde European lager, that features a floral hop aroma, well-balanced fruity malt sweetness, crisp hop bitterness, and a soft dry finish. The signature of Stella’s flavour and aroma are characterized by Saaz hops. A noble traditional hop that gives Stella its signature floral and spicy aroma; as well as, a delicate bitterness to its flavour. Stella is the ideal beer for hosting and enjoying with food. Its drinkability and subtle bitterness make Stella versatile for pairing with varieties of cheeses and accentuating their flavours. The experience of enjoying Stella Artois is incomplete without the iconic Stella Chalice. Designed specifically to enhance the flavour, aroma, carbonation and temperature of the beer – the gold-rimmed chalice is simply the only way Stella should be experienced. For more information, visit stellaartois.com.

About Bokeh Collective
The Bokeh Collective is a premium, award-winning, full-service production studio based in Toronto, Canada. As a company, we are led by one mission: to bring inspiring, heartfelt, exciting and authentically driven stories to life. Founded in 2016, our growing professional family is made up of the best-in-class filmmakers, production experts, artists, storytellers and industry leaders in the country. Together as the Bokeh Collective, we have effectively bridged the gap between film, television and commercials by creating content with the highest cinematic production value. To date, we have successfully delivered over 80 hours worth of original content for networks, including but not limited to Netflix, Fox Digital Studios, Hulu, REELZ, Discovery ID, the Food Network and HGTV Canada. With over 11 Canadian Screen Awards for directing and writing, one Emmy nomination and over 60 film festival awards worldwide, the Bokeh Collective is just getting started. Every next step we take is towards building a stronger team, community and future we believe in.

For more information contact:

Jessika Fink
Director, Marketing
SJC Media
jfink@stjosephmedia.com
416.595.8969

Tamar Nersesian
Sr. Manager Communications
Labatt Breweries of Canada
Tamar.Nersesian@labatt.com
416.318.3989

 

 

 

 

 

Chatelaine launches its September/October issue — and announces a commitment to working with more BIPOC writers

The striking cover of Chatelaine’s September/October issue features Cityline’s Tracy Moore, photographed by Alicia Wynter and created by an all-Black team. In the issue, Moore shares her perspectives on systemic racism, anti-Blackness and the importance of speaking out.

“This is not about me. This is a community situation and as a member of the human race, you should be appalled,” says Moore, interviewed by journalist Tayo Bero. The interview headlines a package that highlights the work of Black Canadians from various communities who are raising the volume on the conversation about systemic racism in this country—including bookstore owner Itah Sadu, doctor Onye Nnorom, writer Robyn Maynard and advocate Reakash Walters.

The package also comes with a commitment from Chatelaine. “On June 2, like millions of others who were horrified by the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, Chatelaine participated in Blackout Tuesday,” says Maureen Halushak, editor in chief. “But we didn’t want it to be an empty gesture.” And so, for the past few months, the editorial team has been thinking about the writers they work with, the stories they tell and the visuals they use.

“As a first step, we are committing to ensuring that 40 percent of our freelance content is produced by Black writers, Indigenous writers and writers of colour,” says Halushak. “But our commitment doesn’t end there. We also want to create inclusivity guidelines when it comes to the experts our writers interview, the visuals we use, the women we feature and the stories we tell.” (Read more about how the team is creating a more inclusive Chatelaine here.)

Chatelaine’s September/October issue hits newsstands across the country on August 27. The brand also has a special offer for new subscribers: subscribe now, and you’ll receive three issues, including this current issue, for $5.

 

The making of an editorial branded content cover (during Covid-19)

Strict pandemic restrictions didn’t stop the FASHION x L’Oréal Paris editorial branded content campaign for the September cover. The issue features French modelling star – and L’Oréal Paris’ newest international spokesperson – Cindy Bruna. Bruna is on the advocating team for Stand Up Against Street Harassment, L’Oréal Paris’ international initiative to train a million people in bystander intervention.

Here we give you a peek at how our FASHION team executed the cover shoot across countries and time zones.

Production

FASHION Creative and Fashion Director George Antonopoulos tuned in virtually for a nine-hours-plus shoot from Toronto. Bruna (and her tiny, socially distanced team) were on set in Paris. Through FaceTime, Antonopoulos and Bruna selected the cover and editorial looks. Next, a virtual location scout determined the best possible spots at the Nolinksi Hotel Paris, the luxurious location for the shoot. Via Zoom, Jacques Burga (art director), Mira Metter (creative director), Claudia Revidat (assistant photographer) and Antonopoulos joined from different time zones to share ideas and work as if they were all there in person.

Behind-the-scenes

The team captured BTS video of Cindy highlighting the “making of,” which will appear on FASHION and L’Oréal Paris’ websites and social handles.

Make-up

While Bruna did her own makeup for the shoot, Val Garland, L’Oréal Paris’s global makeup director, sketched looks from her studio in London. SJC’s post-production team applied the makeup looks remotely in studio for both the print and digital content. This FASHION article explains the full scoop on the totally new method of image-making. Consumers can try on the looks on lorealparis.com using the Virtual Beauty Tool. Consumers can try on the looks on lorealparis.com using the Virtual Beauty Tool.

Product shots

L’Oréal Paris make-up items featured in the September FASHION spread were safely shot at SJC’s studio in Toronto.

Digital content

This FASHION x L’Oréal Paris video shared on social features Bruna introducing FASHION‘s first ever virtual cover shoot.

 

To see the editorial branded content produced across three countries, the September issue is on newsstands now and available today Apple News. Bonus: The issue includes QR codes to scan and virtually “try on” the looks Garland created for Bruna.

 

Cindy Bruna in FASHION
Jacket and scarf, $5,850, Louis Vuitton. Hoop earrings, $12,990, and necklace, $28,210, Messika. Top, Bruna’s own.

 

Cindy Bruna in FASHION 2
Jacket, $4,800, and top, $3,050, Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello. Dangle earrings, $260, Helene Zubeldia. All stud earrings worn throughout, Bruna’s own.

A mini-issue of Today’s Parent reveals how kids are moving #forwardtogether

Months into the pandemic that upended every aspect of our lives, Today’s Parent partners with Rogers and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto to put the spotlight on kids.

“Despite a few tears and frustrations, our children have shown an incredible amount of grace, patience and baking assistance in this uncertain time. So let’s hear what they have to say,” says Today’s Parent Editor-in-Chief Kim Shiffman in the introductory letter.

Today’s Parent asked 21 Canadian children to share how they are managing. The mini-issue also includes conversations with Sevaun Palvetzian who leads communications and CSR for Rogers and Leanne Nicolle, president and CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Toronto.

Today's Parent and Rogers Tomorrow's Future inside spread

Toronto Life and Maclean’s take home 10 National Magazine Awards

Celebrating excellence in Canadian journalism in a time when it matters more than ever, we are proud to announce our four Gold wins and six Silver win at the 2020 National Magazine Awards announced on June 12, 2020. For the first time, the winners were announced during a live virtual broadcast and through digital channels.

Toronto Life‘s Michael Lista captured a Gold in both Long-Form Feature Writing and Investigative Reporting for “A Doctor’s Deception.Toronto Life swept the Profiles category, winning Gold for Chris Nuttall-Smith’s “David Zilber Is the Future of Food” and Silver for Katrina Onstad’s “A Star Is Born.” Toronto Life also won a Gold in the Portrait Photography category for “Musai Ujiri,” a Silver in Art Direction for a Single Issue for “Where to Eat 2019” and a Silver for Best Editorial Package for “The Vertical City”.

SJC Media’s Maclean’s took home three Silver awards for Scott Gilmore’s “You are horrible people“ in the Columns category, Kyle Edwards’ “Not a Drop to Drink” in the Long-Form Feature Writing category and Shannon Gormley’s “Into the Dark” in the Long-form Feature Writing 6,000+ words category. Maclean’s also earned 11 Honourable Mentions.

Toronto Life and Maclean’s were the top two nominated magazines at this year’s awards, with 15 and 14, respectively.

Other SJC Media publications to be recognized are:

Chatelaine: Honourable Mentions in the Best Editorial Package category for “It’s Political” and “Save the World;” the Feature Writing category for “Are You There, Margaret? It’s Me, Perimenopause;” and the Profiles category for “What she said.”

Châtelaine: Honourable Mention in the Personal Journalism category for “Traverser un cancer à deux.

Today’s Parent: Honourable Mentions for “Secrets of Daycare Teachers” in the Service Journalism category, and “Dinner on the Cheap” for Art Direction of a Single Article.

FASHION: Honourable Mention for New York London Milan Paris in the Illustration category.

“While trusted journalism is always at the core of the Canadian media landscape, more than ever, Canadians have a need and appetite for informative, relevant and engaging content,” says Tony Gagliano, Chairman & CEO of SJC. “Our nominated work is a testament to the talent and dedication that is serving the diverse needs of readers all across our country. I am so proud of our teams.”

For a complete list of all of this year’s award winners, click here.

Toronto Life presents This City Live

“This City Live” is a bi-monthly conversation series featuring Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford in conversation with Toronto’s most intriguing people. Sarah and the magazine’s team of editors talk to inspiring front-liners, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, creatives and the city’s most influential people as we look to the future of Toronto during a time of unprecedented change.

Watch the recordings of the first three conversations and visit torontolife.com for for updates on upcoming conversations.

Sunnybrook doctor Ariel Lefkowitzin conversation with Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford.

Ariel was in charge of the Covid ward at Sunnybrook and kept a diary of his experience.

Paul Taylor of FoodShare in conversation with Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford

Colm Feore in conversation with Toronto Life editor Sarah Fulford.

Colm shares what it’s like to be an artist in the time of Covid, and the future of arts and culture in Ontario.

From page to pop-up: Weddingbells sets up shop at Bayview Village

SJC’s Weddingbells is Canada’s leading multi-platform wedding media brand. From fashion and florals to parties and planning, its bi-annual magazine is a go-to resource – and source – for all things wedding.

For the month of June, engaged couples and their friends and families had the unique opportunity to experience the ideas and inspiration curated by Weddingbells at the Bayview Village X Weddingbells I Do I Do I Do Wedding Pop-Up in Toronto.

“It was a wonderful project that came together when we were approached by Bayview Village about partnering on a large, one-of-a-kind activation within the mall space for the month of June, which is traditionally known as wedding month,” explained Alison McGill, Weddingbells editor-in-chief and editorial director of Mariage Québec.

The #BVxWB pop-up featured engaging events and activities over days 30 days to create immersive wedding experiences for everyone to enjoy. Themes included fashion and beauty inspiration, catering and sweets ideas, florals and décor. Every #weddingwednesday, guests were treated to expert sessions hosted by Alison McGill herself, touching on best wedding trends, celebrity weddings and how to plan the perfect wedding.

Brands could also engage with the Weddingbells audience in fun ways; for example MAC Cosmetics set up a Kissing Booth for brides to find their perfect shade and Glory Hole Doughnuts created a stunning edible gallery wall.

“This month-long event brought our Weddingbells brand to life in a way we have never done before and a new and bigger audience was able to immerse themselves in our wedding world.”

Check out the fun photo highlights below.

Weddingbells x Bayview Village Shopping Centre Pop-up