Evening Magazine is Seattle's only TV magazine show that brings unique stories about people, places, and events around the Northwest. The show airs weeknights at 7 p.m. PST on King 5 TV. Tonight, be sure to tune in to watch a story about a Northwest holiday favorite created by Seattle Chocolate Company — the Frango! Since most of Seattle is “snowed in” chances are that viewership of this program will be better than ever.
I got inspired to pitch this story a couple of weeks ago when I saw newspaper ads celebrating the 150th anniversary of Macy's department store and the 90th anniversary of Frangos. Business anniversaries aren't typically big news, but coming up with an interesting back story about those anniversaries could be. I created an email story pitch that highlighted the visual delight of this potential story. The subject line in my email read: The Wizard of Oz, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Moxie, and Serendipity — A Recipe for Holiday Magic and Business Success in the Northwest.
Then, I followed up with a phone call to check interest. Within moments, the producer agreed to proceed with the story. The camera crew visited Seattle Chocolate Company a week ago, and the show is scheduled to air tonight.
To follow is the pitch I emailed to Evening Magazine Producer Eric Riddle to invite his interest. Notice that I demonstrate my understanding of his program and deadlines with the first sentence and immediately get to the magic behind this Northwest story that has not yet been told. You can follow a similar recipe and earn the media spotlight for your Northwest story that has yet to be told. Try it, and report back with your do-it-yourself publicity success story. In the meantime, be sure to watch Evening Magazine tonight to see this Seattle Chocolate Company publicity success story in all its holiday magic.
If I remember correctly, Wednesday is story pitching day at Evening Magazine. That is why I am happy to share a story pitch that I think has wings to fly on Evening Magazine, and I hope you agree.
Macy's is celebrating 150 years. Frangos are celebrating 90 years. Business anniversaries don't make fabulous TV. But I have an story behind the Frango that definitely could be great — especially because there is the excitement, high energy, and fabulous packaging associated with CHOCOLATE involved.
If you've been around the Puget Sound for any length of time — and I know you have — you know that Frango's are a holiday taste sensation and favorite around here. Way back when, the Frederick & Nelson department store created these fabulous meltaway treats from the third floor chocolate factory located in the downtown Seattle store. Magnificent holiday displays of Frangos were and are still common throughout the store, now that it has morphed from Frederick & Nelson to The Bon Marche and now to Macy's. Despite the changes to the name on the door, the flavor and magic of Frangos lives on. It's a holiday favorite that tastes like Christmas to thousands of locals and their families.
What you probably didn't know is that — for the last six years — another Seattle company has the important task of creating Frangos that have the same, smooth, magical taste that Northwest buyers have come to expect every holiday season since Frango's first made their debut in our fair city. It's a little bit like “The Wizard of Oz” in that who knew that Seattle Chocolate Company is the “team behind the curtain” brewing up fabulous chocolates under the Frango brand name.
Seattle Chocolate Company CEO Jean Thompson proudly reports that this is her sixth holiday season as the producer of Frangos for all the Puget Sound stores for Macy's … and beyond. She was in the top job at the company for all of two months when the opportunity to bid on the Frangos business came about. Upon signing a non-disclosure agreement, Thompson received a tattered, typewritten recipe for this Northwest favorite. Her challenge was to create Frangos that matched the same magical taste profile customers have come to expect. When asked, “Can you do it?” she quickly said, “Of course.” That took some moxie, being so new in her role.
Thompson and her R&D team went swiftly to their work. It was no simple task to recreate this recipe. Some of the ingredients were difficult to source and match exactly. Then, there was the matter of producing consistent, high quality Frangos in a wide variety of favorite flavors in abundant quantities using newer manufacturing equipment that would reflect the perfect flavor profile and appearance the candy buyers would expect and deserve to delight their loyal customers through the decades. Oh, the exacting standards that reside within a chocolate factory. It is art and science both, and it's all so much to behold.
When it came time for the buyers to taste the product, a team of ladies — many in their 60's — who worked the candy counter at Frederick and Nelson oh those many years ago was assembled to taste the Frangos created with love and care by the Seattle Chocolate Company team. There was that “drum roll” moment when the tasters were asked, “Is this a Frango?” There was a pause and careful consideration and then smiles as the ladies agreed, “Yes!”
That moment in the tasting room with that team of exacting tasters was a lovely taste of serendipity for Thompson. Being new in the job, she earned a huge win that enhanced her credibility among her team and — most importantly — helped bring the team together for very important work to be done. After all, the opportunity to serve a major client with the product that holds such a place in the hearts and on the lips of many is not to be understated.
Now, her team of 65 chocolate makers are passionately and painstaking creating Frangos to meet holiday demand to bring “What Happiness Tastes Like™” to folks from all around the Puget Sound who have come to believe that it isn't Christmas unless there are Frangos in their holiday stocking. Thompson says that Frangos account for about 20% of the company's revenues and hold an even bigger piece of the company's heart. After all, it is a big responsibility to deliver on the Frangos taste promise and one that Thompson and her team take very seriously.
I love this story because:
- It tells an interesting, engaging back story about a Northwest taste favorite that few people know about;
- It shows that if you have the courage to say “YES” to an opportunity and the drive and moxie to work hard, you can win big business.
- There are fabulous visuals to showcase for a TV segment because what could be better than a tour of the chocolate factory and wide shots of exquisitely packaged chocolates, just in time for holiday sharing?
Eric, have I captured your interest? Do you agree this story has wings to fly at Evening Magazine? I'll call you in a day or two, unless I hear from you first. Thank you for your consideration.