Little blue dynamos back a great program

12/21/2012 11:19:00 AM
Chuck Robinson

I have found another gem of a cooking show on Create TV, a digital network that focuses on do-it-yourself programming.

Your local public television station is probably broadcasting Create TV right now on a subchannel.

The gem I found is “Joanne Weir’s Cooking Class.” Weir is a James Beard Award-winning cookbook author and a PBS veteran, having hosted “Joanne Weir’s Cooking Confidence,” “Weir Cooking in the City” and “Weir Cooking in the Wine Country” — not to mention “Tequila: A Guide to Types, Flights, Cocktails and Bites.”

She also teaches cooking classes, which provides the set up for her “Cooking Class” program.

In “Cooking Class,” Weir works side-by-side with a student in a hands-on cooking lesson.

Every episode I watched started off with a 15-second message about “little blue dynamos” from the U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council.

That message and the similar one at the end are embedded with the video, so every time each episode is rerun, the messages play again.

Reruns are a strength of Create TV.

In additon to new programing, Create TV draws on its library programs featuring past PBS cooking champions, such as Julia Child and Chef Jaques Pepin.

Sponsorship of “Cooking Class” by the Folsom, Calif.-based blueberry council fits in with the council’s 2012 focus on the 25- to 45-year-old female demographic.

The council also bought full-page ads in Food Network Magazine and Cooking Light and banner ads on rachaelray.com, foodnetwork.com and dailycandykids.com.

Though not part of the sponsorship deal, Weir has used blueberries creatively and often on the show, preparing arugula with blueberries and figs, blueberry sangria and blueberry frozen yogurt.

Weir also hosted a blueberry media event for journalists and bloggers at her new restaurant, Copita, in Sausalito, Calif.

Joanne Tehrani, a nutritionist who works for Lewis & Neale, a New York marketing firm that operates the blueberry council’s promotions, said Weir helps people move out of their comfort zone and try new techniques and products.

Marketing plans continue to highlight the culinary versatility of blueberries as well as the health benefits of eating them, she said.

The marketing focus seems to be successful. A survey conducted by Lewis & Neale shows 94% of women ages 25-45 agreeing that blueberries pack a health benefit punch.

More than that, though, three-quarters of mothers in that age range associate serving blueberries with fun.

It is crafty how public television is using its high-definition bandwidth to transmit multiple programs that aren’t hi-def.

If cable TV keeps raising its rates, I expect audiences to grow for public TV’s airwave broadcasts.

The content is strong, and I think the blueberry council found a great vehicle to promote its product.

E-mail crobinson@thepacker.com.



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