MIRAMAR, FL: Applica's George Foreman brand launched its first online-centered campaign July 14, with AOR Burson-Marsteller.
The effort focuses on a Web series, "Knock Out the Fat with George," which allows viewers to follow contestants as they progress through a six-month weight-loss program that includes demonstrations of recipes cooked on the George Foreman grill. Visitors can post comments and videos to support contestants and have the chance to win prizes.
The George Foreman brand, which traditionally centered on infomercials and resulting media interviews, expanded the scope of its PR for this effort, said Sherrianne James, senior director of strategic marketing at Applica.
"We've never done [a campaign] with a Web show or such a strong viral presence," she said.
The webisodes are hosted by health experts, Michael Feigin and Lawson Harris, and the four contestants represent diverse ethnic and professional backgrounds, ranging from a black professor to a Mexican-American opera singer.
"[What] we wanted to do was represent a broad-spectrum of life experiences," James said.
The Web site went live July 10, and the PR team reached out to long-lede lifestyle magazines and bloggers before that. Additionally, contestants promoted their involvement to their own networks of colleagues, friends, and family, noted Jennifer Furey, manager at Burson.
Internally, Applica hosted its own George Foreman Day on July 21, which inspired employees to become involved in the project and provided consultations with the trainers from the show, James said.
"Simplistic as it sounds, we really want to communicate to people they can knock out the fat from food and themselves," she added. "Our [brand of] cooking products are a conduit to healthy eating and way to live a healthy lifestyle."