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The "Foodie" Niche

“We are inspired by the passion and creativity of the foodie culture.”

These words are positioned on the inside cover of Barneys New York holiday catalog, now sitting in millions of households around the country. Barneys New York recently announced ‘Have a Foodie Holiday’ – this year’s theme for their national holiday campaign, in partnership with Food Network, Cooking Channel and illycaffe. These words especially resonate with me, as a true “foodie” by nature.

Nobody was more excited to see a distinguished brand like Barneys celebrating the vastly growing foodie culture. Life-size models of the well-known and respected Food Network chefs line Barneys display windows, and the campaign has created quite a presence in the social media space.

At a first ‘Google News search’ glance, notable media outlets like the Miami Herald, New York Times, CNN, Newsweek and LA Times have been following and covering the hype around this campaign. And in between these mentions, food blogs and industry trades are sharing in the conversation. It seems as though the “foodie niche” is a resource that is being tapped at just the right time, as this audience is not as small as some may think.

Traditionally, the new age breed of “foodies” are 20-something urban professionals, who, like myself, are talking and blogging about food – the dining scene in their cities, current events, chefs, restaurants, posting and sharing recipes, and the like. The community and its followers seem to be getting larger every day, with a growing number of food blogs, publications, television shows and segments, columns and books than ever before.

Barneys 2010-2011 holiday campaign is a premiere example of effectively reaching an audience through a focused campaign. And to complement the theme and tradition of giving during the holiday season, they are participating in philanthropic efforts, supporting and promoting the Food Bank For New York City and their text-to-donate campaign (www.foodbanknyc.org), adding significant buzz to their overarching campaign message.

The response to this philanthropic component to the campaign, displays why NOT to downplay the importance of reaching the social media and blogger communities for a targeted industry, whether it be B-to-B tech, consumer electronics, medical, or even food, as shown in this instance. Focusing a piece of the campaign on a mobile-based initiative, such as text-to-donate, opens up social media lines and further aligns with their targeted audience.

On a final note, check out today’s Google homepage which further validates these notions. Google is celebrating Thanksgiving with a food-themed doodle and recipes. Today’s Google masthead links to a page of Thanksgiving recipes by Food Network chef Ina Garten (my personal FAV celebrity chef!)

Google, Barneys, who’s next?