Profile: Karen Grinthal

Feb 24, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Title: Senior VP, ad sales, Food Network and Fine Living
Recent interesting deal: “This is one example of how we work with partners on a long-term basis and think of growing their business more than of doing a deal.
“The Casual Dining category grew markedly for Food Network in 2002, but prior to that the first client in this category was Darden Restaurants. For each of Darden’s two national brands, Olive Garden and Red Lobster, we created partnerships.
“In our discussions with the Darden clients, as well as with our partners at Zenith, we recognized that Darden is a disciplined but creative marketer with a focus on sales results. For Darden’s part, they were very early in recognizing Food Network’s audience quality and our effectiveness against key 25 to 49 viewers.
“For Red Lobster, we created our first and still one of our most effective custom vignette series with our `Seafood Tips’ executions. These vignettes convey the conscientiousness and expertise of Red Lobster as a quality seller of fish products.
“For Olive Garden, we carried the third year of the Olive Garden Culinary Institute of Tuscany Sweepstakes. This marketing program highlights the quality of the Olive Garden brand [they educate all of their chefs in Italy], their creativity [their dishes are invented in Italy] and their authority [their food is authentically Italian]. In their media schedule, Olive Garden sponsored Italian-themed shows, such as `Molto Mario.’ While this promotion was not co-branded, we did execute the creative and also provided an Internet platform on FoodNetwork.com.”
The next big thing: “Greater value will be placed in the buying community on understanding and selling through true partnerships with quality media brands that can help to build their clients’ businesses. For Food Network we have already had success working with nonendemic partners who understand the lifestyle value of the brand. With Fine Living we are creating a new model for advertisers to integrate their messages in a programming environment that is PVR-proof without being gratuitous.”
Is there anything you wish you had sold less of? “We sold exactly what we wanted to in upfront and anticipated a strong scatter market.”
Is there anything you wish you had sold more of? “I wish more advertisers had taken a charter position with Fine Living when we launched in March 2002. They would be benefiting from the fact that we have already achieved 67 percent higher distribution than our original guarantees for the entire upfront season.”
If you weren’t in media selling: “I already have a number of careers within my own career, albeit unofficial, and these include psychologist, sociologist, social commentator and mother-also official-so I am really quite content.”