Sarah Darling Warms Up to Crock-Pot
By Christian Bottorff
© 2012 CMA Close Up® News Service / Country Music Association®, Inc.
Sarah Darling has landed a new venture as the first celebrity spokeswoman for the national Crock-Pot Crockstars Confessionals campaign to support recipe sharing for the line of slowcookers.
This is no small marketing campaign. Darling’s image was printed on more than 1 million Crock-Pot packages that are shipping to U.S. stores. Plus, Darling helped kick off the brand’s fall season of “Crocktober” by sharing her Crock-Pot slow-cooker recipes through viral videos, live streaming events and social media with Crock-Pot’s estimated 1.5 million fans.
“Crock-Pot was attracted to me because I’m new in this industry, and they wanted to bring on someone who they could grow with,” Darling said. “I’m also from the Midwest and I love to cook. It matched up perfectly.
The partnership began when John Alexander, VP, Marketing/Artist Management, Black River Entertainment, approached his friends at Crock-Pot’s parent company, Jarden Corp., about Darling. Alexander has worked with Jarden products in the past, helping connect Country stars with popular consumer products.
Susan Selle, Crock-Pot’s VP, Global Brand, Shopper and Customer Marketing, says the company’s internal research shows that Crock-Pot consumers engage closely with Country Music and listen to Country more than other types of music. They are also driven by food and fashion.
“There is a natural affinity for the music,” Selle said. “So, obviously, we identified Country Music as an influencer for our Crock-Pot consumers.”
Darling’s personality, fashion sense and artistic style matched especially well with Crock-Pot consumers. So much so, that beyond the traditional and social-driven marketing, Crock-Pot in early November launched a customizable Crock-Pot Create A Crock slowcooker through a live streamed concert on Crock-Pot.com, featuring Darling with other Country stars. Darling played new songs and a Christmas song; it was hosted by TV and radio personality Storme Warren, and the singer shared her own favorite Crock-Pot recipes.
“The whole idea with Sarah is she is lovely, and she is an up-and-coming Country talent, and she also loves to cook,” Selle said. “She is authentic, and she really does have great slow-cooking recipes.”
Darling delights in her role as Crock-Pot’s first “Crock-Star,” signing Crock- Pot recipe cards for fans and using social media networks like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to share recipes along with fashion photos and daily updates on her life.
“When I moved to Nashville, I didn’t know anybody,” Darling said. “And this is just one of those things that my grandmother did for me. She bought me a Crock-Pot and said, ‘I know you’re going to be living on your own. This is how you make a pot roast.’ It’s like a little piece of home, just like comfort food. To me, I think, Country Music is very much about home. It’s about true stories and real things, and real life. And to me, it all ties in.”
On the Web: www.SarahDarling.com, www.Crock-pot.com/Crock-Stars, www.YouTube.com/user/CrockpotSlowCooker