If you watch TV (so basically I’m talking to everyone,) I’m sure there’s been a point in time where you’ve wondered how talk shows and reality TV create the product displays we see. Where do all those products come from? How do they get them? And who decides what we get to see as viewers?
If the thought has never crossed your mind, well, now it has and you’ve definitely stumbled upon the right place. Your curiosity is about to be answered by Brand Outreach Producer or Contra researcher, Chloe Bent.
Having worked on shows like CBC’s The Goods, MasterChef Canada, and now the highly anticipated The Great Canadian Baking Show, Bent is that person. The person who sources all the brands and products used on air; every cosmetic product, every cooking utensil – you name it, she’s sourced it!
And you can bet that with a job like this, comes a lot of perks. Attending exclusive media previews and events, being behind the scenes on major shows, and getting free products to name a few. Bent is alway on to the next thing and “in the know” on new and interesting products, all while working with some pretty amazing brands and people. That’s a pretty awesome job, wouldn’t you say?
Read on and catch the full interview with Bent below. We talk about how she got her start in the industry, favourite moments, and of course I had to ask her about MasterChef Canada and The Great Canadian Baking Show (you’re welcome foodies!).
Clarify for us, what exactly is a Brand Outreach Producer?
I’ve been called the Brand Outreach Producer or Contra Researcher. Contra is an agreement between two parties who exchange good or services without any cash exchanging hands. My role is to develop partnerships and negotiate contra deals that will maintain the quality of the show and provide national on-air brand recognition and exposure for our partners.
How did you get in this field of work (I didn’t even know this job existed)?
In 2013, I was watching etalk and they were promoting a new show coming to CTV called The Social. I knew very little about the show, but I just knew that I had to work on it. I persistently emailed the executive producer Michelle Crespi to hire me over the course of a few months. It worked – I joined the team as the audience coordinator right before the show launched. I was responsible for booking the audience and getting them warmed up for the show. The role also led me to manage and secure all the audience giveaways which is how I got my start in the role I’m doing today. After almost two years with The Social, I moved on to MasterChef Canada as their Contra Researcher.
So what does a typical day on the job look like?
On CBC’s The Goods I negotiated all the daily audience giveaways for their first season. That’s 120 brands totalling over $650,000 in giveaways. Pre-planning-wise, I would identify new and exciting brands/products and reach out to them via email or schedule a call. The role is very much a sales job as well because you’re selling the show and the value in being associated with our brand.
Similar to The Goods, on CTV’s MasterChef Canada I negotiated and secured over $200,000 of culinary equipment, food, and wardrobe for the hosts. The culinary producer provides me a list of the cookware brands she’d like to work with for the season. I then reach out to each of them with what I call our “Christmas wish list” of what we’re hoping to secure for the show. Sometimes brands pass because they don’t have it in their budget or they may be working with another show. The stylist does the same thing by providing me with a list of the brands she’d like to dress the hosts in.
In terms of production, once all the brands needed for the show are secured, I have to make sure we deliver exactly what we promised. So I sit in the control room and watch the monitors for specific brand related shots. For example, at timecode 08:14 – we saw a close up of the Breville logo on the blender when Anne poured in milk.
What shows have you worked on? Seeing as you’ve done so much, which one has stood out the most?
I’ve worked on a few shows in other capacities: Brides of Beverly Hills (Casting Researcher), Cash Cab (Production Assistant) YTV’s The Zone (Associate producer). Then The Social, MasterChef Canada, Vegas Rat Rods, The Goods and The Great Canadian Baking Show (Brand Outreach/Contra Researcher).
Do you get to keep some of the products from the shows? I’m sure all of us are wondering!!!
One of the perks is that the PR companies for the brands invite me to their exclusive media previews. So a lot of the time I get to see what styles or products are coming out months before the general public. I love attending these events cause it’s here that I really learn about new brands and get the opportunity to test them out myself because we usually leave with a bag of goodies. No expense is spared at these events; I’ve been to ones at the Thompson, Lavelle and the Windsor Arms Hotel.
So now that we all know you’re working on The Great Canadian Baking Show, what will be your main role? Side note: Will you get to eat and sample all the baking?!
Just as I did for MasterChef Canada, I’ll be securing all the cookware, appliances, bakeware and kitchen tools needed for the show. The one thing with working on set is there is NEVER a shortage of food! We have craft services and catered lunch so we’re always well fed. But I’m hoping that a few of the bakers treats find their way to my desk. Usually, if you can find yourself in the right place at the right time, you’ll score a bite of something.
Why should Canadians be excited about the new show?
Like the British original, The Great Canadian Baking Show will see 10 amateur bakers — discovered in a cross-country search — compete in themed culinary challenges. Each week, they’ll face increasingly difficult tests of their skills and creativity. Ultimately, three finalists will vie to be crowned winner. The show will give amateur bakers from all across Canada a platform to tell their diverse stories and showcase their extraordinary culinary talents on a national stage
And finally (I have to ask), what are your favourite brands and products? You must know some good ones!
Express – Their workout gear fits amazing and is so trendy that half the time, I’m wearing them outside of the gym. Atheleisure!
Consonant Skincare – All of their products are 100% natural, and formulated with the highest possible concentration of organic botanical ingredients! Their HYDREXTREME® serum is amazing for restoring your glow. (Canadian brand)
Tweezerman – All their beauty products are great, but their new BRIGHT COMPLEXION FACIAL DERMAPLANER is my favourite – the new way to exfoliate your skin.
Warby Parker – I love brands that give back. They ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.
Saje Natural Wellness Canada – All of their products contain pure ingredients, straight from nature, are environmentally friendly, healthy and more supportive of the body’s natural breathing, living and healing functions. Their lavender stress-free roll in helps me relax at the end of long work day. (Canadian brand)
Vega – Their protein bars and shakes are delicious! My go-to is the All in One Mocha Nutritional Shake. (Canadian brand)
Would you ever want to be a Brand Outreach Manager or Contra Research for a reality TV shows? Let Vv Magazine know in the comment section or tweet us @ViewtheVibe.