Battle of the food formats: TVNZ changes tack, MediaWorks looks for a slice

For most New Zealanders, there’s been a fairly high rate of food consumption over the past few months. And the nation’s broadcasters are hoping there will be plenty of food-related TV consumed this year as well, with TVNZ’s MasterChef NZ making a few changes to its format and MediaWorks hoping for big things with its new show The Great Food Race

For season five of MasterChef NZ, the biggest change is that it now features teams of two. And, perhaps as a result of the success of The Block NZ, both in terms of viewing numbers and ‘seamless’ integration of commercial partners, as well as the success of multi-night formats in Australia, the show will also move to a new multi-night format this year. 

While MasterChef had a slight dip in its average series ratings last year in comparison to 2012 (average share remained the same at 31 percent, however) and a significant drop of around 150,000 viewers to 533,000 for the final episode (all 5+), TVNZ’s other major food programme My Kitchen Rules on TV2 grew on all fronts and actually topped the final of MasterChef NZ with a total of 567,000 (all 5+). 

Commercially, head of TV One and TV2 Jeff Latch, said back in June that MasterChef NZ is still a very compelling proposition, because such cooking shows give sponsors so many opportunities to integrate themselves into the content (as do DIY shows). TVNZ was unable to speak about sponsorship arrangements for this year’s show, but Centrum is featuring on the promotional material. Last season, Fisher & Paykel, Lion Nathan, Stevens, Skoda, Campbell’s Real Stock and SunRice returned as sponsors and Frucor’s Arano was a new addition. But Countdown gave up its position as overarching sponsor to become MasterChef grocery sponsor last year. 

This year, however, Countdown has put its weight behind MediaWorks‘ food show The Great Food Race and will be the broadcast partner. Air New Zealand is also on board as a programme partner of the show, which features the tagline ‘out race, out cook, out serve’. 

The show is hosted by Zoe Marshall and judged by restaurateur brothers Leonardo and Lorenzo Bresolin, who were born into the Wellington hospitality industry. Their father, Venetian born Remiro Bresolin, opened the first pizzeria in New Zealand and then started Wellington’s first recognised fine dining restaurant (and renowned advertising haunt) Il Casino.

MediaWorks‘ new general manager of integration Alana O’Neill couldn’t talk about what the sponsors would be doing, but says because it was “devised and created specifically with these partners in mind, there’s a shared vision for the show”.

“We wanted to take the traditional cooking show format to a new, fresh place, outside of the kitchen or studio.”

She says there is a growing demand for shows like this from clients and, because MediaWorks has a range of media options across TV, radio, online, digital and social, she says it is better placed to spread the word about shows like The Great Food Race and the upcoming Cadbury Dream Factory, just as it did with X Factor NZ and The Block NZ. 

The Block NZ did a good job of glad-handing sponsors without alienating viewers, but there is a line. So is there a danger that shows that are created with an obvious commercial imperative will go too far and turn into advertising? O’Neill says they’re “expensive and intensive projects and we have a lot invested in them”, but she says there does have to be a balance and she thinks that balance will happen naturally and the market will figure out where that line is.  

Unlike many of the other reality shows on New Zealand TV that are licensed from overseas, this is an original concept, and while O’Neill couldn’t speak about the rights, if the show goes well here, there is always the potential of sending it overseas and giving the foreign networks a taste of their own medicine.

Both promotional campaigns were done inhouse by the broadcasters. 


Here’s what MediaWorks had to say about the campaign:

TV3’s marketing campaign for The Great Food Race was created in-house by the same team responsible for the network’s hugely successful marketing campaigns for The X Factor and The Block NZ (which was, of course, a winner at the Marketing Awards).

It’s a multi-level campaign designed to capture the scale and excitement of this dynamic new show and to communicate the ‘race’ element that kicks in at episode three and takes the show out of the test kitchen environment that’s common to cooking shows.

The promo footage and stills were achieved through a combination of green screen and shooting on location, with Bethells Beach a key location – and an iconic New Zealand backdrop for a programme 100 percent created here. It features host Zoe Marshall and the judges, restaurateur brothers Leonardo and Lorenzo Bresolin.

MediaWorks TV Head of Marketing and Publicity, Amanda Wilson says: “We’re currently in the launch phase of TV3’s marketing campaign with more to come from us (as well as broadcast sponsor Countdown and programme partner Air New Zealand). The media mix for TV3’s marketing includes outdoor (billboards and busbacks), print, radio, cinema, digital, social and a major publicity campaign.”

Some other interesting facts on the marketing shoot:

·         We closed down the South End of the beach to get those shots and shot it all from a chase car

·         The Slow Motion footage was shot with a Sony FS700 at 200fps.  The other footage was shot on a RED scarlet at 4K

·         Toybox did all the digital compositing of SFX for the skydivers and seamlessly matched the Getty stock footage

·         To get the last shot just right we did 13 takes… Which required re-plating all the food that many times.  You can’t see it, but there is a huge pile of food hidden behind the table from all the earlier takes.

·         For the close-up shot of the seafood coming out of the water, the prop stylist super glued all the food to the platter. 

·         All of the food was real.

·         It was one of the most involved promo shoots MediaWorks TV has done.

Credits for TVNZ:

Client: TV ONE

Marketing Manager: Tim Aitken

Brand Manager: Jade Rook

Agency: TVNZ Blacksand

Executive Creative Director: Jens Hertzum

Creative Director: Adam Sarkar & Matt Goodwin

Writer/Creative: Adam Sarkar & Matt Goodwin

Producer: Travena Addenbrooke

Director: Perry Bradley

DOP: Renaud Maire

PM : Raluca Cozariuc

​Credits for MediaWorks: 

Head of Marketing – Amanda Wilson

Creative Director – Ant Farac

Producer Director – Jeremy Wadzinski

Art Director – Juita Tambunan 

Photographer – Scott McAulay

Producer – Matiu Sadd

DOP – Ryan Heron

Visual Effects – Toybox

TV3 Brand Manager – Rebecca Saunders

Assistant Brand Manager – Jay Patel

Marketing Assistant – Lily Kingston

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