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Entertainment News

Sunday, 23 August, 2009 12:50 PM

Craig Morgan and Bush's Grillin' Beans: A Recipe for Success (CMA)

Photo courtesy of Bush's Baked Beans

Bush's Baked Beans spokesman Jay Bush and Craig Morgan during a video shoot for Grill U.

 

By Bob Doerschuk
© 2009 CMA Close Up News Service

There were plenty of reasons why it made sense that Craig Morgan and Bush's Baked Beans could form an ideal partnership of artist and product, each enhancing and benefiting from what the other had to offer. But for Morgan himself, none of it mattered if not for one essential truth.

"I love to grill," he said. "I could probably try to sell something I'm not that into, but when I'm looking at potential sponsors or endorsements I try to affiliate myself with products I would use. I ride Kawasaki motorcycles. When I'm on a tractor, it's my Case IH. I'm loyal to these products."

And he is loyal to the pleasures of the grill, to the point of packing one onto his bus and using it to whip up aromatic meals for his band and crew during tours.

That got the attention of Scott Daniel, who as Senior Brand Manager at Bush's Baked Beans was in the midst of searching for a spokesperson for the company's upcoming Grillin' Beans campaign. Research confirmed that a Country artist would be the best fit for their customer base.

"But it was also important that we have someone who is truly passionate about grilling," Daniel said. "It took just a couple of minutes of speaking with Craig to know that he's a guy our consumers can relate to."

By February, Morgan, company spokesman Jay Bush, great-grandson of the company's founder Condon Bush, and Jay's dog Duke were filming vignettes for GrillU.com, which now includes a space reserved for Morgan where visitors could go behind the scenes during the video shoots, check out his favorite recipes and download "Love Remembers," from his latest BNA Records album, That's Why. More Morgan items - albums, T-shirts and hats - were among the prizes offered in a game and sweepstakes hosted at the Web site.

Morgan took his message to the media too, beginning with "Fox & Friends" in April and "The Bonnie Hunt Show" in May, as well as via TV commercials and print ads. This represented an immediate return on the Bush's arrangement, according to his manager, Faith Quesenberry of Vector Management. "We'd hit a lot of media when Craig's album dropped in October," she said. "But by having an angle that's not necessarily his music, he could hit all these shows with his grilling expertise."

As Morgan sees it, the payoff can go further than that. "Someone might win my CD in that sweepstakes, take it home, listen to it and go, 'Wow, I really like this!' That not only benefits me, it benefits the entire Country industry. It really is a win/win for everybody."

On the Web: www.CraigMorgan.com; www.BushBeans.com

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