Cooking for trouble (in a yummy way) – working with Unilever and OgilvyOne for Hellmann’s


See the Greek version of this post

My, this is a long – and yummy – story, but it had to be shared. So here’s a bit of gossip about my cooking adventure with Unilever Greece and OgilvyOne Athens for Hellmann’s.

The people at the two companies found the Greek version of Digital Scullery and my cooking videos in Greek. Apparently they liked them and they approached me. We got together to create Πας Μαγειρεύοντας – the closest translation might be Cooking for Trouble – an online cooking show.

The Hellmann’s chefs created a number of recipes, using the Hellmann’s products as ingredients rather than condiments. I presented 12 of those recipes, in my usual insane manner (I hear I’m funny in Greek). It was such a great experience – especially because as a blogger you are accustomed to doing everything yourself and then suddenly it’s all about the group.

I went from doing EVERYTHING on my own to standing in a lovely kitchen with professionals around me doing their thing. Sets, sound, make up, lighting, directing, cameras… everything was there. And such lovely people! They all loved what they did, we had fun, we laughed, we changed things and worked very very hard.

The best thing about this project was that we had no script. No script whatsoever which was my own special little request. I just got the recipe and off I went. Now, that’s a leap of faith from a corporate team if I ever saw one but it went so well! I was given the freedom to be exactly the type of cook/ presenter that they chose me for in the first place. Risky strategy some might say but it really paid off.

The show run online for the whole of 2011 – the videos are on Facebook, YouTube and the Hellmann’s Greece website.

Earlier this year I received a very kind invitation from the Institute of Communications to present my experience at their 3rd Social Media Conference. That was a great opportunity to chat with marketing pros and share things from the blogger’s perspective – especially to dispel the myth of the big bad untrustworthy blogger and the other one of the easily sold out blogger. Not being a suit does not mean you can’t be professional – just saying.

Here is my presentation from the conference – translated for you lovely people.

The presentation explains pretty well where I am coming from and what sort of things (like ethics, creative freedom, professionalism) are important to me. And all those – and so much more – I found in this project. Working with people who knew what they were doing, who also listened to what I had to say and used my experience in blogging and online creativity to take the project further.

It was great to be approached by some pros at the conference who asked me a bit more about the detail, the planning, my decision making process.

It’s pretty simple really. I said yes because:

  • The proposal was professional & comprehensive
  • The people who knew what ‘social’ is
  • They gave me plenty of creative freedom
  • I could maintain the principles of Digital Scullery

And here are the four key things I’ve learned so far in cooking and in collaborations:

1) Cooking is a labour of love
However, collaborations require professionalism

2) Kneading is better done by hand
Without you having touched social media we’re not talking the same language

3) Some ingredients don’t work with everything
Each blogger and each company have their needs and priorities

4) Wine needs to breathe
All creative people need respect and freedom

I’ve heard some times that there is a bit of a distrust between the corporates and the bloggers. Some of the stories I’ve heard are pretty grim. However, I think it’s a time of great opportunity. Now, how else would I have had the opportunity to do something as professional as that with no (promotional) strings attached? With a great team? With a clear and professional planning process? It was just such a good experience and I love the result.

All in all it’s a shame there is no subtitling so that the English speaking friends of Digital Scullery could see what it was all about. So, here’s the making of video – it’s pretty representative of the craziness 🙂


Disclosure: Obviously this was a normal/ official project/collaboration/ work. The post is not intended to advertise or promote, only to share my experience.

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