Thursday, September 17, 2009

Viva and Me

Hi there! First, I missed watching and telling you about the Down Home with the Neely's episode I taped. Thanks to the blog comments about it. I'll call the production company and see if I can get some rerun dates just in case you wanted to catch it ...

I wanted to share with you a neat little story about my first major endorsement. I haven't even caught the commercials yet, but I've had a few comments about them (thanks readers for the support). Well, if you've caught the commercial you know it's with Viva Towels. I alluded to the partnership a few posts ago when I had to get to bed early for a 'big shoot'. Now, just a couple of months later commercials are running and Food Network Magazine has the ads as well. Pretty fast, huh? And everything did happen pretty much in that fashion. I like to give you some background here so you are a bit more informed than the next, so here are the deets ...

First, I went to the Wine and Food Festival in South Beach Miami in January of this year, it's where I discovered Viva Towels. I was doing my cooking demo and kept pulling the paper towels provided on set to clean up and mostly to blot my face because it was soooooooo hot there. The first thing I noticed was how soft Viva was. Really, no joke. I'm talking baby soft. I kept saying to myself ... "where have these been when I'm shopping?" and "these must be foo foo and fancy priced or only available in kitchen stores or something". I really left the festival with many memories, but one thing I wanted to do was find those Viva Towels in Brooklyn! Funny thing is, the next time I went shopping I'd already told my guy about them and how I wanted to look out for them. We got to the grocery store and surprisingly, right next to the brands I used to buy, were the Viva Towels! Yep, they'd been there the whole time and I didn't even notice. I think eyes do this plenty in the grocery store, they focus on familiar brands and that's why I support grazing in the grocery store, to find new brands and products ... I just never advocated it in the paper-goods aisle. Anyway, I bought the Viva Towels and thought that was pretty much it, I knew where to look for the cushy-soft paper towels ... my kitchen life was enhanced.

Fast forward to a couple of months ago and I get the word that Viva wanted to chat with me about endorsing them and appearing in advertisements. This was cool news because I've had a few offers to work with companies, but turned most of them down because they just didn't fit me and I didn't want to just do something to do it. You've heard the term, all money isn't good money? I believe that and have often lost money just because I have a feeling it isn't for me. So, I was totally surprised when I got the offer and couldn't believe after saying many "no's" that I'd get to say "yes" to not only a brand I knew and liked, but one I felt I could speak about from a real place.

We shot the commercials and the magazine advertisements on my Cooking for Real set over the course of 3 days. The first two days were in another building other than Chelsea Market, where I usually tape. They built only half of my set in that location and the cameras shot from a certain angle so you couldn't tell the set wasn't all there. Here are some pics ...
That's the set with Mark, my producer and if I know butts, I'm pretty sure that's Jim in conference with him about lighting, I think. It's technical stuff above my head lol.
This is the scene just in front of the set. If you look close you can see my "tag" or end of the script for the commercial. It's in the laptop screen on the table. I had an open and closing tag, but the middle was all just talk like on Cooking for Real. My granddaddy used to call me motor-mouth growing up and it's these times I'm happy I can talk forever about anything, no script needed. The massive black curtains on the left, top have reflectors on the other side for lighting purposes. That's Jenna looking at the camera, she's a culinary producer and you may have caught her in some previous posts, because she also works with me on Cooking for Real.
These are the food stylists working in a kitchen just to the side of the set. They are prepping my recipes for close ups and for me to use in the commercials as well. It was really hot on this set because the air conditioning made noise and had to be turned off to shoot. So, imagine cooking under pressure in a hot kitchen all day and every thing has to be camera ready. They worked hard. Here they are just 20 feet away from the kitchen, on set...
It still is pretty neat to me to write a recipe, have someone else make it and it tastes just like I made it. They made about 6-7 recipes that day in large quantities, hard work I appreciate. I'll give a link to the recipes at the end of this post. To the very left, slightly cut off is the still photographer.
Standing with me here is David White a wardrobe stylist that I'd only chatted with before the shoot around the hallways of the network. He works closely with my stylist on Cooking for Real and works with other hosts on Food Network. He filled in two of the 3 days for Marni, the stylist I use on my cooking show. David helped me in and out of 6 or so outfits that day and also managed to help me keep stains off every outfit. I'm a messy cooker.
That's Alberto and Marni with me at the final day of the shoot. We did this in the Chelsea Market studios. Pardon the hair clips I'm rockin', but we just wanted to capture a moment and keep it movin'. Alberto does my makeup and hair and Marni is the one that shops for my outfits and alters the ones that need it. I plan to interview them both for the blog in the future, if you are interested.

Never mind me in this photo, take a look at the logo for Viva. It's a printout that is then taped on the actual roll because the plastic creates reflections and lighting issues.
That's me just putting together some Viva coasters with some pinking shears. There are a few ways I suggest using the Viva Towels and one of them was to make cones out of them for french fries. For that we fried up some taters and got them ready for their close up ... problem was, they weren't as crispy and needed support. Take a look, can you see the food stylist's trick in the closeup of this coming picture???
Yep, broken skewers! Pushed carefully through each fry, they worked perfectly and held up to my homemade mayo. And a final shot at the first shoot ...
That's the photographer's assistant checking the images on his screen as we took pictures. Can you see the on-set kitchen in the distant left? Anyway, after shooting video I must've taken a jillion still pictures and thought it was an easy day of taking photos until I got home. My neck was tight and I realized it was due to all of the tiny head movements "up, down, now just to the left a bit" etc., that I took as direction the whole day. Nothing a little sleep wouldn't cure. After the shoots I just waited to be able to tell you. Now that the ads are running, can't hurt to give you some details, eh?

Well, that's it. My shoot with and story about Viva Towels. I want to give you some links that are useful ...
Plenty of links to special deals, recipes and fun stuff.

Register to become a Viva Diva!
Viva Divas get recipes, coupons, chat with each other and enjoy some cool benefits, like having your own recipe appear in a Viva insert in Food Network Magazine!

Viva Recipes and Videos on Viva site
These are recipes I developed for Viva to promote getting closer to your food, meaning ... leave the utensils alone!

Fork-Free Foods on Food Network site
These are videos of me prepping the recipes, about 2 minutes each if you are browsing at work :-).

And if you buy on the stands or subscribe to Food Network Magazine, in the coming months I'll have an insert with recipes and tips provided by the Viva Divas, so sign up, you never know if you'll be published! Enjoy the day and tell a friend about Viva if you already use it. If you don't, look for it where you'd find paper towels, only thing is these aren't anything like papertowels, they are soft and cloth-like enough to remove makeup, wipe your nose without bruising and of course, use in the kitchen. :-)


Lana said...

What a nice, long, newsy post! Sunny, ya out did yourself this time, girl. A very enjoyable read.

Glad to hear you found a product in which you believe! It's hard to stand up for something you don't ... ahem ... stand behind.

Oh, and lol, I'm a messy cooker too. *winks* I have two rolls of paper towels at all times in my kitchen: one in the prep area and one close to the stove.

I use 'em to dry my herbs, too. Two towels taped together with herb leaves in between. Put the fan between two chairs blowing downwards with the herbs on top. Works great!

*giggling* If Viva sends you cases and cases, send a roll or two my way? (heehee, totally kidding)

Sunny Anderson said...

lana, i know ... a long read huh? well, i am super long winded and i often talk wondering when someone is either gonna fall asleep or cut in and tell me to stop lol, so my writing is similar. hey, fyi the viva towels are pretty darn efficient on herbs and they don't bruise them cuz they are soft. like your wind technique! and yes, i got two huge cases of viva in the mail, i gave one to my bf's brother tht just had a kid, he needs em, and the rest i put in my pantry. i was thinking about doing a blog contest and giving some out and having the company mail em out ... stick around, i gotta ask the right people and i meet with them next week. trust me, it's the first thing i thought about ... who can i give viva towels to?? teeheehee ...

Lana said...

You're kidding! Really? Lol, now don't make me feel like a sponge 'bout asking for towels *toothy grin*

But of course! A blog contest, or something like it would be a hoot! Recently the FN Dish had a limerick contest and it was so much fun! There are so many responses, and it was really enjoyable just reading through all the replies.

I'm not saying you should do Viva limericks, lol, but something where people can be creative and participate ... I think that's what folks are looking for - a way to creatively express themselves, to be a part of something larger than themselves. *big sigh*

And if someone can get a small prize, a token, so much the better. It can only make people happier, and happy is good! :-D

Complaint Department Manager said...

It would be nice if I could get my University to switch to Viva. Switch that and toilet paper, of which I affectionately call Russell Crowe-on-a-roll. Why? Because it's rough, it's tough and it doesn't take crap off anybody.

It was either that or Naomi Campbell. But that's just stupid. Everyone knows paper towels or toilet paper don't throw phones.

Congrats on the endorsement!

Sunny Anderson said...

lana, nope not kiddin, i thought about it weeks ago and have been formulating what a good contest would be. i like givin stuff away, we are doing some charity work as well which is important to me. so i'll will surely do a giveaway here soon. i bet i need some legal jargon on the blog when i post the contest, so gotta get that done as well. i like the limerick thing, i need to check into f2 more often. do u think it's corny to have ppl make a 1 minute vid using viva? still mulling over stuff... i dunno.

complaint dept. mgr., LOL IJBT!!! that's laugh out loud in the jet blue terminal! i know what you mean about the paper towels. i use recycled ones on the show and they are brutal to the hands and it only takes 1 drop of water for them to be done. poor naomi ... i have a funny naomi story, too long to tell, but let's just say her help is as high strung as she is. what a life eh?

Selenasking said...

Hi Sunny, I just wanted to tell you that I love fresh cooked Brussel sprouts too! I used to make them that way ~ but without the bacon, just cooked with rice. I want to get back to some of that, lol.

hockeybear said...

"Viva Diva" is too funny!

~~~ Congratulations Sunny! :o)

Sunny Anderson said...

selenasking, i LOVE brussels!!! love them. i have a new recipe for them coming around holiday time that hopefully gets added to your list of go-to recipes for them!

hockeybear, welcome to the blog!! and thanks for the support!

Bren said...

Hi Sunny! I'm so sorry to admit I've not been by in a long while, but I just saw the ad and thought it was so well done! straight to the point.

I just read our corn post, and wanted to tell u that it's all about the corn!! roasted corn, smoked corn, even canned corn! :) I'll be in NY filming some foodie stuff and would love to meet you, even if for cuban coffee. I have the absolute perfect corn joint to share with you! Dariu's pictures on facebook of your visit with him seemed like great fun. he's such an enthusiastic guy!

be well!

Sunny Anderson said...

bren, thanks! it was pretty simple to shoot because i actually use the product. that's my goal in this game, to just be myself and work with stuff i love. i gotta check out darius' blog! we had so much fun the other night! i can't beleive he let us come over, i basically invited myself ...