Author Topic: George Duran's bait and switch dinner  (Read 3220 times)

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TeamBhakta

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George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« on: September 07, 2011, 05:53:10 PM »
Two food celebrities, George Duran and Phil Lempert, invited bloggers to a dinner at a 5 day only underground restaurant in a brownstone. After dinner and conversations (about healthy eating, fresh ingredients, etc), cameras came out of the kitchen. Turned out the lasagna and dessert portions of the meal were Marie Callender's frozen food. ConAgra had been secretly taping their conversations with George and Phil. They wanted to use the surprised reactions and comments of the bloggers to promote Marie Callender's, but some bloggers and their guests walked out instead of signing releases. Very sneaky  :P


« Last Edit: September 07, 2011, 05:54:44 PM by TeamBhakta »

jimithing

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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2011, 06:26:26 PM »
Wasn't there some pizza chain that had commercials like this? Domino's maybe? Where they had video of diners eating what they thought was fancy, high end pizza, and then they did the big Domino's reveal.

I'm a blogger, and I have many friends who are very well known in the blogging world and make good money through social media. I just blog for fun, but I do get approached by brands to promote their product. (I don't do reviews.)  I've attended blogging conferences, and there are a lot of brands who are becoming very savvy in going after bloggers to promote their products.

But many brands also see women bloggers as silly and willing to do anything for a buck and a free meal, and I'm sure that's how ConAgra saw them. Unfortunately, the power of blogging is HUGE. Dooce tweeted about an issue with a washing machine, I believe, and it became a HUGE national deal.

I don't think this is the kind of promotion they were hoping for.

ETA- I just saw that it was Pizza Hut that did this. I'm sure there were just as many people who were upset and refused to sign released. All it takes is about 4 people with good reactions to get a TV commercial.

Carnation

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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2011, 10:18:32 PM »

Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2011, 10:49:18 PM »
Many brands may be savvy, but I wouldn't say that ConAgra is.

Nor can I say I think well of the two "food celebrities".

Bait and switch is slimy behavior. Unfortunately, this probably won't hurt their celebrity status. :(
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Winterlight

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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #4 on: September 08, 2011, 09:04:34 AM »
What they did was hold a focus group without telling participants. That was unethical and very, very foolish, because they've gotten lousy press from it.
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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #5 on: September 08, 2011, 09:19:44 AM »
Many brands may be savvy, but I wouldn't say that ConAgra is.

Nor can I say I think well of the two "food celebrities".

Bait and switch is slimy behavior. Unfortunately, this probably won't hurt their celebrity status. :(

Celebrities now are allowed to be slimy. Celebrity is its own defense, it seems.
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WillyNilly

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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2011, 02:12:10 PM »
I have some major issues with ConAgra foods and the corporation's ethics (they are currently being sued over their labeling).  I would have been ticked off beyond belief at such a trick.

Hushabye

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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2011, 02:24:37 PM »
So, they got together a large group of people who spend a great deal of time spreading the word over the internet about food and tricked those people into eating their products.  And then were surprised when said people left, upset, to spread the word all over the internet about how unethical the company is.

The stupid boggles my mind.

If I were a blogger, you better believe I'd be posting about this and how horrible it is.  And it would be a cold day in Hades before I'd recommend another ConAgra product.

Fleur-de-Lis

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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2011, 02:31:11 PM »
Many brands may be savvy, but I wouldn't say that ConAgra is.

Nor can I say I think well of the two "food celebrities".

Bait and switch is slimy behavior. Unfortunately, this probably won't hurt their celebrity status. :(

Celebrities now are allowed to be slimy. Celebrity is its own defense, it seems.

I would not say celebrities are "allowed" to be slimy.  I would say too little of the general public holds celebrities to standards of accountability. 

Too many people are too happy watching bread and circuses and not demanding better for their time/attention. 
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faithlessone

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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2011, 02:50:24 PM »
Wow, what were they thinking?

I can think of so many better ways to get good press for your company - this bait-and-switch method is just certain to get them lambasted all over the place. Particularly bloggers. I've seen some absolutely scathing reviews in blogs, and very few of the popular ones hold back when they're mad about something.

wolfie

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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2011, 02:54:18 PM »
Wow, what were they thinking?

I can think of so many better ways to get good press for your company - this bait-and-switch method is just certain to get them lambasted all over the place. Particularly bloggers. I've seen some absolutely scathing reviews in blogs, and very few of the popular ones hold back when they're mad about something.

What they were thinking was that the bloggers wouldn't be able to tell the difference between that food and the food you would get at a fancy restaurant and would rave about how they couldn't tell and how good the food was. I was reading through some of the reviews just to see if the food was good and they didn't like the reveal but it seems like the food wasn't that good anyway and had it been a real restaurant it probably wouldn't have gotten good reviews either.

Virg

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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2011, 04:47:50 PM »
"We've secretly replaced their house blend with Folger's crystals.  Let's see what they think."

I'd like to say this idea is new, but as you can see, it's been done to death.  I can see why Mrs. Duran and Lampert (and ConAgra) might have thought it was a good idea, but at the same time I can also see why the bloggers felt like they'd been had.

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Starchasm

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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #12 on: September 11, 2011, 09:32:36 PM »
What makes it extra awful for me is that they had discussions prior to the food being served about how important it was to eat fresh food with good ingredients, etc. and then served the bloggers (and guests who'd 'won' the dinner) frozen food full of salt and preservatives.

atirial

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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #13 on: September 12, 2011, 10:13:36 AM »
They are lucky none of the guests had an allergy or sodium restrictions. The problem is I suspect the PR company is loving it - it's got the company name out in front of people and a lot of healthy eating blogs that otherwise wouldn't feature it have done. Once the scandal fades, that's all name recognition and backlinks.

I read a few of the blogs on this and several comment that Phil Lempert didn't actually eat the dessert. Pulling a bait and switch on your guests is bad, but pulling a bait and switch and then not eating it? That crosses the line.

Starchasm

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Re: George Duran's bait and switch dinner
« Reply #14 on: September 12, 2011, 10:26:39 AM »
They are lucky none of the guests had an allergy or sodium restrictions.

One of the guests was allergic to artificial food coloring which came out during their discussion.  She was served a zucchini dish instead (which made her husband, the blogger, suspicious).

I wonder what would have happened if she hadn't mentioned the food coloring problem?