CNN and All Nippon Airways Serve Up the Perfect Dish in Digital Series

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Cover image for  article: CNN and All Nippon Airways Serve Up the Perfect Dish in Digital Series

A good brand campaign has the same elements as a perfect dish: the best ingredients that only require a master chef to whip them together. The Perfect Dish: Asia, an eight-part digital video series launched by Explore Parts Unknown as a digital companion to Season 10 of CNN's Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown in partnership with All Nippon Airways (ANA), has resulted in a spectacular example of tapping into all platforms to reach key performance indicators.

Bourdain (pictured at top with Yasmin Khan, a correspondent on The Perfect Dish: Asia) maintains that anyone could spend a year exploring just a block in Tokyo.  Who knows better about finding the most sumptuous meals in the most unassuming of locales?  But for the digital series, Bourdain and correspondents reveal to viewers the most perfect dishes served up in Singapore, Jakarta, Hong Kong, Taipei, Hanoi, Yangon, Okinawa and Tokyo -- all cities available to travelers by Japan's largest airline, ANA.

"This is what it looks like when you get it right," says Joe Dugan, Turner's Senior Vice President, Portfolio Sales and Client Partnerships.  "The client's brand message is integrated within the content in an organic way.  It's great being able to work across full platforms, and the consumer is the big beneficiary."

"It's a true example of global collaboration between different parts of Turner, CNN and a client partner committed to innovation," adds Sunita Rajan, Senior Vice President, Advertising Sales, CNN International Commercial.  "This creative solution draws on multiple platforms to reach engaged audiences across CNN in a way that no other brand can."

Celebrating this ANA and CNN partnership with Explore Parts Unknown -- a digital editorial venture between CNN and the independent journal Roads & Kingdoms -- foodies and representatives from all partners gathered last week at The Park restaurant in New York City.  Chefs Desmond Tan, Simpson Wong and Matt Le-Khac each prepared signature dishes inspired by the series that included tealeaf salad, pork curry, tofu puffs and honeycomb cake.

Pictured above, left to right:  Joe Dugan, Senior Vice President of Portfolio Sales and Client Partnerships, Turner Ad Sales; Tadashi Matsushita, Vice President of Strategic Planning, The Americas, All Nippon Airways; Anthony Bourdain, CNN’s Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown; Emi ArimaAssistant Manager of Marketing Communications and Advertising, The Americas, All Nippon Airways; Sunita Rajan, Senior Vice President of Advertising Sales, CNN International Commercial; Daisuke Katayama, Market Communication, Marketing, All Nippon Airways.


Bourdain and Yasmin Khan, one of the digital series' correspondents, were on hand discussing the nuanced foods of these countries -- though, as Khan describes the cuisine, "Tokyo is a bit like an acid trip."

Japan captivates Bourdain.  "It is so thrilling ... you will never know as much as you want to know,"  he insists.  Praising its beauty and complexity, he says being there made him realize, "I come from a very young country.  I know nothing and will never know anything.  I learned how to be the stupidest person in the room.  I learned how to sit still."

Ideally, ANA wants more people to share Bourdain's experiences.  As large as ANA is -- last year it flew more than 52 million passengers -- it does not have the brand recognition it wants.  "For years, we have been serving this market, the Japanese ex-pat community," says Tadashi Matsushita, ANA's Vice President, Strategic Planning, the Americas.  "Brand awareness is very important, and I am personally very proud of what we can offer to our customers.  We should reach out and be creative and that is what CNN is helping us do."

Bourdain, at ease in all cultures and someone who understands how food encourages friendships, was a natural fit for this project.  Reflecting on the eight cities featured in the campaign, Bourdain says, "You get off the plane and inhale.  Certain places just smell awesome and turn out to be awesome."

That experience of being in Japan can begin the moment passengers step aboard, says Athanasios Sikolas, a business analyst with ANA.  "The service is meticulous," he says.  "We shifted our focus to properly communicate our experience specifically to Millennials, Boomers and business travelers who are interested in inspiring experiences."

As such, the airline has an impressive flight record of creative advertising campaigns with CNN, which has evolved from a global standpoint over the past two years across traditional and new platforms.  This partnership marks its sixth campaign with the network since 2015 including:

  • ANA's Tastes of Japancampaign, promoting 35 territories in Japan across CNN International and CNN Digital.
  • ANA as CNN's first international brand partner for Great Big Story, a CNN-backed storytelling network. That campaign melded branded content with the editorial series Ichigo Ichie,which translates to "one opportunity, one encounter."  The series used Launchpad, one of Turner's innovations in data-driven targeting on social media, to grow ANA's presence in Europe.  In another first, Great Big Story content from this campaign was adapted for a special on CNN International.

Earlier this year ANA also sponsored two other eight-part series -- Inspiration of Japan on Great Big Story and Vision: The Future of Japan created by CNN Digital Studios.  They were accompanied by branded content and data targeting on social media through Launchpad and CNN International Commercial's CNN AIM (Audience Insight Measurement) segmentation offering.

Photos by Jason Kempin/CNN

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