Bravo’s evil branding genius brings Top Chef to your freezer

You’ll soon be able to buy frozen food branded with Top Chef, thanks to Bravo’s latest evil genius move: partnering with Healthy Choice to sell a line of frozen entrees.

Part of Healthy Choice’s Cafe Steamers line, the meals will be integrated into the new season, Top Chef Texas, and feature “the essence of Top Chef flavor” (whatever that means), according to a Healthy Choice executive.

The announcement said the new meals, which will be in stores later this month, “combine Top Chef’s culinary expertise with the innovative steaming technology of the Healthy Choice Cafe Steamers entrees,” but while it uses the phrase “Top Chef inspired,” it’s not clear how that will happen.

However, we can expect a Sept. 14 web series called Top Chef Healthy Showdown, which will give a former contestant the role of spokesperson for Healthy Choice; inclusion on Top Chef Texas that includes sponsoring both a season prize and an episode prize; and being integrated into an elimination challenge.

Bravo’s press release is full of phrases that generally cause my brain to seize up, like “the largest integrated marketing partnership in their respective histories” and “brand,” but one thing I appreciate about these kinds of Bravo announcements is their (relative) honesty. For example, Bravo president Frances Berwick says, “We’re constantly developing ways to engage our fans and viewers beyond the television screen, and this collaboration will take Bravo to the next level while jointly elevating and strengthening both the Top Chef and Healthy Choice brands.” And Bravo’s VP of licensing and strategic partnerships, Jennifer Turner, said, “The Healthy Choice partnership is a great example of leveraging all parts of the network to partner with an advertiser to jointly bring quality products to market.”

So in other words, we’re helping promote each other by putting our labels all over each other’s stuff. At least it makes more sense than other cross-promotions.

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.