Agency: Civic Entertainment Group
Campaign: Swamp People
Client: The History Channel
The History Channel debuted Swamp People in 2009, averaging 3.1 million weekly viewers. Swamp People follows residents, known as Cajuns, in and around the Atchafalaya Swamp in Louisiana, who can trace their roots back to the French Canadians that settled there in the late 1700s. On the surface, the essence of the show is about following these people during their 30-day alligator hunting season, but gets heavily into understanding their culture, music and food, as well.
In 2011, to build viewership on Thursday nights, The History Channel moved Swamp People to that night, then needed to promote the season 2 premiere.
History launched ‘The Taste of the Bayou’, operating a custom food truck for four days leading up to the premiere. The branded truck visited high traffic areas in New York City, targeting popular lunch areas in the afternoons and commuter hubs in the evenings.
The point of the truck was to market to a wide audience who’d never experienced Cajun cuisine in hopes it would make them curious about the culture and people.
History partnered with Cajun chef John Folse to create and prepare a Cajun menu, including Mallard Duck & Smoked Wild Boar Sausage Gumbo; Alligator Sauce Piquante with Rice; Fricassee of Swamp Rabbit & Wild Mushroom; Louisiana Red Beans & Rice with Smoked Nutria Sausage; Louisiana-style Crawfish Étoufée with Rice; and Venison Jambalaya.
Each day’s location and menu offerings were promoted through PR, Facebook and Twitter, including featuring recipes and food tips from Chef Folse. Brand ambassadors dressed in camouflage waders and Swamp People gear engaged consumers to sample the food, offered branded bottles of water and condiments and distributed recipe cards.
Chef Folse made appearances at some locations, including at offices throughout the city for boardroom tastings with key clients.
Over the course of the four days, The History Channel served more than 12,000 samples and reached 200,000-plus New Yorkers. The Taste of the Bayou food truck generated 10 million media impressions, including both mainstream and food sector coverage.
The season 2 premiere of Swamp People became History’s No. 1 series telecast of all time for a Thursday night in all key demographics. It delivered 3.9 million total viewers, up 26% vs. the season 1 average, capturing 2.0 million impressions of adults 18-49 and 25-54, up 25% and 18% from the season 1 average, respectively.