Channel 4 serves up branded show with Heinz as TV plays ketchup with social

Episode 1 of Heinz's Flex Kitchen featuring comedian, Kerry Godliman. Episode 1 of Heinz's Flex Kitchen featuring comedian, Kerry Godliman.
Episode 1 of Heinz's Flex Kitchen featuring comedian, Kerry Godliman.

This article first appeared on The Drum - 12 January 2022

UK broadcaster Channel 4 continues to ramp up its branded content offering with the launch of a social-first show with Heinz.

Flex Kitchen is the latest format to come from the broadcaster’s push into social branded content, which it has been experimenting with over the last few years. Its entrance into social was a warning shot to the more experienced social-first publishers (like LadBible and BuzzFeed) that have the knowledge base on online culture (for now), but could one day be edged out on big client deals by the promise of brand extensions on IPs and access to talent liked by the British public. 

For now, the short-form comedy series is an original IP conjured up for the business and will launch on Channel 4 Comedy YouTube as well as All 4, while shorter edits of each episode will be released across Channel 4 and Heinz’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and TikTok accounts. The five-part series will focus on Heinz’s Made from Plants products. Furthermore, content from the series will be cut to run across linear and digital platforms.

Comedians Alex Brooker, Kerry Godliman, Suzi Ruffell, Lou Sanders and Phil Wang will all feature on the show that runs this week.

Flex Kitchen was produced by Ranga Bee and commissioned by Channel 4. 4Studio brokered the partnership with Heinz media agencies Carat and The Story Lab. The campaign is also supported by creative communications agency, Wonderland and trade communications specialists The Hub.

David Amodio, deputy head of digital innovation and 4Studio, said: “We have strong historical credentials in food and comedy, so it’s great to be able to extend these on to our social platforms through this innovative collaboration – one of 4Studio’s most significant partnerships to date.“

Matt Mill, marketing lead for Heinz Meals, said: “This new and exciting partnership with 4Studio is one we know viewers will enjoy. Not only will it showcase our portfolio of plant-based products, but we hope to inspire flexitarian audiences all over.”

It represents a shift in how TV businesses approach partnerships and how they’re gaining confidence in creating content for social media. Channel 4 claims to be the only UK broadcaster offering social-first branded content and it is very much a trailblazer here, unlocking new commercial opportunities for once traditional TV businesses.

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