Curious about what product placement on Top Chef Canada buys you?

Curious about what product placement on Top Chef Canada buys you?

The chefs during the quickfire challenge of the Milestones episode (Image: Food Network Canada/Insight Productions) 

One aspect of Top Chef Canada that always comes under fire from our commenters is the ubiquitous sponsor integration. But apparently it’s working: that Milestones-themed challenge from season one has been short-listed for an award at the Cannes Lions advertising festival (the winner is announced tomorrow). Of course, this isn’t your typical under-the-radar brand-awareness type of advertising. For the Milestones campaign, the entire elimination challenge (from service to judging) centred around building a dish for the casual dining chain, with the winner awarded a feature spot on Milestones menus nationwide. The ad agency’s submission for Cannes reports that 25 minutes of the 60-minute show was dedicated to the Milestones brand, but when you factor in the Milestones advertisements featured during the commercial breaks, we suspect the total time devoted to the brand was even greater. And it seems viewers don’t mind being hit over the head with sponsored messages: many guests at the restaurants told Milestones servers that they came in just to try the food they had seen on Top Chef Canada, with 23 per cent ordering dishes off the special menu (those dishes apparently had profit margins that were 30 per cent higher than any other core item to boot). In other words: don’t expect less product placement for season three. Read the submission [Cannes Lions] »