Mario Batali has been enlisted by General Mills to sell frozen dinners. My big thing in brand planning is context. Any good creative brief asks the planner to articulate what consumers know about the product or about the competitive offerings. If your product is new or unique, context helps explain your product to consumers with understood cues and meanings, rather than having to spend precious time and energy educating them.
Mario Batali, for those who know his upscale restaurants or have seen him on Iron Chef America is a wonderful and creative chef. Context. If you don’t know Mario but read his name or see his picture on the box you probably note he is Italian (context) and, due to his girth, he believes in his craft (more context). Have you read of his reported dalliances with Courtney Love, you know he is famous. Again, context.
This endorsement and licensing deal with Mr. Batali happens to be a brilliant move for General Mills — much more so, than his endorsement of a cookware line. Mario uses cookware, but is famous for great food. He is a perfect spokesperson, licensor and launching pad for this new product line of frozen pastas.