Nov 14, 2012 at 01:02 AM
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Brand Integration Gone Wrong: Celeb Chef Blasts Cadillac, Travel Channel

Speaking of brand integration gone horribly wrong, celeb chef Anthony Bourdain, wants to make it clear he doesn't drive a Cadillac in real life. Really, really, REALLY clear. No matter what kind of deal his former employer, Travel Channel, might cook up next. Check out these tweets @Bourdain unleashed last week and then read the blog he posted yesterday to finally explain the fit of rage (below that).



Here's Bourdain's side of the story from his blog:

If I make an agreement—especially about something as personal as the use of my name and image, I expect that agreement will be honored. So it came as a shock and a disappointment to turn on the TV for the last two episodes of my show, and see that someone had taken footage that me and my creative team had shot for my show, cut it up and edited it together with scenes of a new Cadillac driving through the forest. Scenes of me, my face, and with my voice, were edited in such a way as to suggest that I might be driving that Cadillac. That, at least, I was very likely IN that Cadillac—and that if nothing else, I sure as shit was endorsing Cadillac as the vehicle of choice for my show. All this following seamlessly from the actual show so you were halfway through the damn thing before you even realized it was a commercial.

The network made a commercial, with me endorsing a product, and hadn’t even bothered to ask me. After the first airing of the commercial, I let the network know of my extreme displeasure. Fair warning one would think. They ran it again anyway.

I have no problem with Cadillac, by the way. A couple of people have come up to me after reading my enraged twitter rants on this subject and asked me what my problem is with them. No problem. With them.

I have had a long and mostly very happy relationship with Travel Channel over the last eight years. For almost all of that time, they were incredibly supportive of what me and my partners were doing—and of me personally. A number of different owners, a number of different administrations came and went. But in the last year or so things started to take a definite turn for the worse. There was the news that, unbeknownst to me, the network had decided to add THREE “special episodes “ comprised entirely of clips from previous shows to the final bunch of only seven. Had we not agreed to edit them ourselves, they were well on their way to doing the shows without our participation. Best I can tell, they are, unfortunately, well within their contractual rights to butcher our painstakingly shot and edited footage as they choose. It’s something of a creative signature of the new guard at Travel, best I can tell—to cynically and cheaply “repurpose” existing material to create additional “content”. In such circumstances, as some of my on air colleagues agree, no one wins. Presenters look exploitative and lazy. Fans feel used and misled. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do about that.

But I CAN do something when my name and image (such as they are) are used to sell a product without my consent and in violation of prior specific and well crafted legal agreements. And I intend to.