American Airlines is making the best of a deal that was inked before Condé Nast's announcement that it would be shuttering its Gourmet title.
Rick Wilbins, American Airlines' managing director of brand and advertising, says the demise of the magazine does not affect the airline's sponsorship of a TV series with Gourmet. "While we regret that publication of Gourmet as a print magazine is ending, we realize that Condé Nast has a strong commitment to the Gourmet brand, which will continue to have a presence in other channels," he said.
The airline is the sole corporate sponsor of the 10-episode TV series "Gourmet's Adventures With Ruth," which features Gourmet Editor in Chief Ruth Reichl. The show, produced by WGBH Boston, debuts Oct. 17 on public television in New York and will roll out in other markets throughout the fall.
The program was designed to appeal to consumers' dual passions for travel and food, according to the airline. Reichl visits cooking schools around the world with celebrity friends, chefs and editors to experience local cultures, food and traditions.
American's deal includes 30-second brand spots at the opening and close of each episode, and feature-style ad pages in the October issue of Gourmet, which is the title's penultimate. American is also featured on the show's Web site, www.gourmet.com/ adventureswithruth, which includes information on the magazine's closure after the November issue.
Subscribers will receive Bon Appetit magazine for the remainder of their subscription. Gourmet.com will remain available during a transitional period, and access to Gourmet recipes will also remain available via sister site Epicurious.com and the Epi iPhone application.
WGBH will produce 10 VODcasts that will reside on the series' Web site and on Gourmet's TiVo channel. One of the airline's 30-second brand spots will be featured at the beginning of each VODcast. American's agency of record, TM Advertising, worked with WGBH and Gourmet to develop the advertising program.
"Food and travel are intrinsically linked," Wilbins said in a statement. "We've all had moments when we've tasted something wonderful that instantly evoked a favorite place we've visited."