Jennie Garth has gone from the small screen to the even smaller screen. After starring in TV series Beverly Hills, 90210 and What I Like About You, the actress first made her mark on the Web in Candace Bushnell’s The Broadroom, which was sponsored by Maybelline and distributed by More magazine this past fall. Now, Clorox’s Hidden Valley Ranch salad dressing is the sponsor, and NBC Universal Web series Garden Party, which is distributed on iVillage, is Garth’s current project, AdAge.com reports.
Garth doesn’t see working on Web series as a demotion, telling AdAge.com that The Broadroom was a chance to do a network-quality TV show with a shorter production schedule, and Garden Party lets her play her favorite role—a working mother of two daughters.
Garden Party was co-developed and produced with Hidden Valley Ranch’s entertainment agency, MATTER, and the series will feature a different vegetable each month for the next six months, beginning with broccoli this month, focusing on ways to prepare the vegetable and including interactive features such as a “Cook and Tell” cookbook, a “What’s for Dinner” meal planner and a user-generated message board, AdAge.com reported.
Garth told AdAge.com:
I liked the educational aspect of the show because as a mom, I know how hard it is to get kids to eat vegetables. I learned how to let my girls help me peel veggies like sweet potatoes. If you give them a job to do when it comes to cooking and preparing their veggies, it makes them want to eat more.
And she told AdAge.com’s Madison & Vine:
(Hidden Valley Ranch) brought some yummy ranch dressing, for one thing. That stuff is like pure gold because if your kids don’t eat something, they’ll feel like they’re having a fancy little treat. It’s a helpful incentive, like a tool for parents to incentivize kids to eat more vegetables because they can eat them with ranch dressing. They came up with so many simple ways to get people to pass along this information to mothers and parents and to get their kids to literally love their veggies and have fun with them. It was an interactive and different approach that I liked.
I have definitely seen some sponsored series that feel like infomercials, but I think that time has passed and viewers are smarter. Advertisers and networks like NBC really seem to know they need to be creating great content first to create an environment for the advertiser message, not the other way around. My passion is about motivating as many families as possible to learn about vegetables and healthy eating together.
Garden Party was my first educational Web series, which I really enjoyed. I liked the format of being able to talk to somebody. As an actress, I enjoy dialogue and doing scenes, but this was an opportunity to reach out directly to the women watching. I’m one of those women who likes to chat and share knowledge and pass it around.
You really just need to look at the quality of the shows—there’s really no difference between what you see on TV and what you see in digital. In fact, people have even more ways to see this than normal TV. We’re working with the same production teams at NBC who produce shows like Monk and Psych—the only difference is viewers watch online, on video-on-demand and mobile.