ST. LOUIS, July 20, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Coolfire Studios bolsters its foray into the branded entertainment category with “The Next Great Burger,” a six-episode burger competition series that debuts on Tues., July 21, at 10/9 p.m. (CST), on Esquire Network. Each half-hour-long episode was filmed and produced in St. Louis by Coolfire Studios in association with Budweiser for Esquire Network.
Comedian Owen Benjamin and renowned chef JJ Johnson will host each episode and, with the help of a live audience, will bestow championship iconic burger accolades and $25,000 in prize money, on a lucky winner. The first five episodes of “The Next Great Burger” will feature contestants ranging from backyard barbecue kings and food truck owners to sous chefs and up-and-coming culinary hopefuls. Six finalists will compete for the best burger bragging rights on Aug. 25.
Coolfire, one of the industry’s leaders in producing branded entertainment, has created compelling shows on multiple platforms for TV and digital, including the shows, “Made Right Here” (Maxwell House Coffee/AOL), “Bearville Alive” (Build-A-Bear/YouTube), and “Smoke is the Bandit” (Mobile 1/YouTube). In addition, the company garnered two Emmy’s for its branded TV show, “The Frontline for Hope,” produced for St. Louis Children’s Hospital, of which Joe Buck (Season 1) and Jon Hamm (Season 2) served as narrators. The “The Next Great Burger” is the first cooking show and the first competition show for the company.
“The success we’ve experienced with our previous branded entertainment shows for TV, major digital platforms and owned media is a testament to how quickly the industry is evolving,” said Jeff Keane, chief executive officer of Coolfire. “With each of these shows we started with a brand, created a compelling piece of entertainment, and then integrated the brand into the content.”
During production of the TV show, “Hatfields & McCoys: White Lightning” (History Channel), however, Coolfire Studios reversed the process. Originally void of brand integration, Coolfire identified an opportunity in the show that resulted in the launch of The Legendary Hatfield & McCoy Whiskey brand. While the branded distillery was incorporated as the backdrop in the show, Coolfire began actual production and distribution of the whiskey to consumers. The brand is now available throughout 24 states.
“We’ve been successful as both entrepreneurs in creating our own brands, as well as producers in developing authentic branded entertainment, because our priority has always been on making good shows,” said David Johnson, president of Coolfire. “If a show doesn’t entertain its viewers, then nothing else matters.”
Benjamin and Johnson will serve as hosts of “The Next Great Burger.” Benjamin, a breakout comedian on Comedy Central’s 2010 Hot List, appeared in the TBS series “Sullivan & Son,” “Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time,” “The Tonight Show” and “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” among others. Chef Johnson, recognized for his talent and unique style of cooking with what is in season, was named one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30 in the Food & Wine category (2014), Zagat’s 30 Under 30 (2014) and an Eater Young Gun (2014).
Based in St. Louis, Missouri, Coolfire Studios is a content creation studio that specializes in commercial production, branded content for digital platforms, and television shows. With a strong DNA for storytelling, Coolfire Studios goes beyond the traditional production company by using digital marketing to drive audiences and social engagement to help ensure the content’s success. TV credits include: “Listed Sisters” (HGTV); “Weekend Fix” (Esquire); “Hatfields and McCoys: White Lightning” (History Channel); and “Fast N Loud” (Discovery) and “Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s” (OWN), both co-produced with Pilgrim Studios. Coolfire is represented by Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Find out more at www.Coolfire.com.