Culinary Advice Served From a Can

On two newscasts, a pair of clowning chefs dish out the paid product promotion

Submitted by Daniel Price on
Clients: Hass Avocado Board, Heinz, Canned Food Alliance, Circuit City
Release Date: January 2006
Aired By: 2 stations
Disclosed By: No stations

On January 26, WBFF-45 in Baltimore aired a live satellite interview with Lee N. Gerovitz and Steve Cassarino, a clamorous TV chef duo known as The Clever Cleaver Brothers. They were there, purportedly, to discuss how to throw a successful Super Bowl party. But the four-and-a-half minute segment was little more than a showcase for four undisclosed sponsors.

The interview was part of a satellite media tour (SMT) arranged by D S Simon Productions and jointly funded by The Hass Avocado Board, Heinz, the Canned Food Alliance, and Circuit City. It's not surprising that Gerovitz and Cassarino's recommendations included guacamole made from Hass-brand avocados ("Over 50 million pounds of Hass avocados will be consumed for the Super Bowl," said Gerovitz), pulled pork sandwiches flavored by Heinz barbeque sauce, and a chili/cheese dip made with quality canned food products.

"It's just as good as fresh food," said Cassarino. "And just as tasty."

The Clever Cleaver Brothers were indeed clever when it came to sticking to the script. When WBFF-45 morning anchor Harold Fisher asked them for great drink recommendations, Gerovitz—pressed for time with one last sponsor to plug—deftly segued the conversation to plasma-screen TVs from Circuit City.

In pitching the SMT, D S Simon made the client funding information abundantly clear to newsrooms. And yet at no time did WBFF-45 disclose to their audience that the interview was sponsored by Hass, Heinz, Canned Food Alliance and Circuit City.

The "brothers" showed up four days later on WKBW-7 in Buffalo, New York. Again they pushed the same four products from the same four sponsors, and again the endorsement deal was kept hidden from viewers.

D S Simon also distributed a related video news release (VNR) featuring Gerovitz and Cassarino. It was seemingly ignored by all stations.

View the original VNR, as well as the WBFF-45 satellite media tour interview with the Clever Cleaver Brothers, below.

Original Client VNR WBFF-45 8AM newscast
Created by DS Simon Productions January 26, 2006
Features the Clever Cleaver Brothers SMT interview with the Clever Cleaver Brothers