Escape Kitchen puts thrilling twist on traditional cooking show


Media consumption habits are changing. Gone are the days when the TV set was the focal point of entertainment within a home – the internet and mobile age has completely changed the game.

Worldwide, people are spending almost as many hours watching programmes online as they do television. And millennials are driving this change.

Millennial viewers are particularly fond of catch-up services and internet-connected devices for watching TV. In the Netherlands, time spent by young adults watching catch-up programmes is said to have doubled in six years.

So when Albert Heijn sought to target and engage young adults, the Dutch supermarket chain took a different and inspired approach with an exciting experiential-style cooking series.

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Combining internet broadcasting with the growing global interest in Escape Rooms, Albert Heijn created a thrilling culinary experience like no other.

Filmed in a style reminiscent of Gordon Ramsay’s terrifying ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, the Escape Kitchen pitted teams of young adults against one another in challenges that put their cooking skills to the test in order to unlock their way to freedom.

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Cue herbs being chopped, eggs being boiled and ingredients being weighed as the contestants frantically worked together to cook up a storm with high-tempo foodie puzzles, a laser-protected chamber and crafty Albert Heijn-inspired components.

Adding to the brand experience, the locks in the room could only be opened with Albert Heijn branded shopping cart tokens which were awarded on completion of each culinary challenge.

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The challenges formed a recipe, which contestants had to follow to prepare a dish good enough to pass the ultimate taste test from the Chef de Escape Kitchen.

Each episode featured different teams competing against each other to prepare the best-tasting dish against the clock. Which teams triumphed and who was left crying into their onions?

A great example of how to market to millennials, Albert Heijn brilliantly puts a twist on the traditional cooking show format to appeal to a younger audience. This digitally-savvy generation has growing purchasing power and are demanding a lot more from brands.

The entertaining campaign was very successful in creating a fun, authentic and easily shareable experience, but makes quite sweeping assumptions about the generation’s cooking abilities. While millennial has been a much-loved term in marketing circles, brands need to be careful not to take a ‘one size fits all’ approach.

Other brands that have tapped into a love of the internet and mobile technologies to engage with a younger audience include Netflix with its clever Snapchat ‘face-swap’ activation and Coca-Cola with a spectacular selfie experience.

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Author bio


With nearly 30 years of marketing experience, both client and agency side, I’ve acquired a rare perspective on brands and business: I believe you have to challenge things creatively if you want to grow sales. Consumer technology is reshaping our world, and it’s only the great brands that stay on the crest.