Food Network Trucks Hit Big Cities

In advance of last Sunday’s premiere of The Great Food Truck Race, Food Network gassed up a marketing campaign that helped rev up ratings in New York and Los Angeles.

As part of its off-net promotional push, Food Network mobilized a fleet of 200 mobile restaurants and ice cream trucks––nary a roach coach in sight––to help whet the appetites of Gothamites and Angelenos. Emblazoned with prominent Great Food Truck Race branding and tune-in information, the trucks will continue to cruise the city streets through the end of August.

The initial stage of the campaign appears to have driven viewers to the new competition series. Per Nielsen, the August 15 premiere notched a 2.2 household rating in LA and a 1.4 adults 25-54 rating. The household rating marks a 175 percent lift from the year-ago time slot, while improving 38 percent on the network’s previous four-week average for Sundays at 10 p.m.

New York also got a nice bump, posting a 2.0 HH rating and 1.4 adults 25-54. The household number represented a 186 percent improvement over the city’s year-ago draw, while bettering the previous four-week average by 25 percent.

All told, The Great Food Truck Race served up 2.03 million total viewers across the country, of which more than half (1.2 million) were members of the 25-54 demo. A 1 a.m. reprise of the one-hour premiere drew another 661,000 viewers, bringing the total haul to 2.69 million.

TGFTR will move to its new Sunday 9 p.m. slot. on August 22. Pitting seven food-truck owners as they attempt to complete cooking challenges in various locales, the show is a virtual soufflé of the tastiest ingredients from Bravo’s Top Chef and CBS’ The Amazing Race.

While the conscripted food trucks will pack it in when August comes to a close, Food Net hasn’t slammed the door on its marketing efforts. On Labor Day Sunday, the channel will participate in the Los Angeles Times Celebration of Food & Wine, an all-day feast that will take place on the Paramount Pictures backlot. On Sept. 5, Food Net and new sibling Cooking Channel will be on hand to pump their respective brands.

The Food Net California Lounge will feature TGFTR trucks from the Golden State, including SoCal competitors Crêpes Bonaparte, the Nom Nom Truck and Ragin’ Cajun. Cooking Channel will commandeer an ice cream truck for the event.

The comprehensive TGFTR media plan targets adults aged 25-54 who occasionally watch Food Net and are interested in reality TV. Estimated impressions for the campaign are 421 million.