Tudor period garb and table settings inside the Condé Nast executive dining room designed by Frank Gehry may seem about as unusual a juxtaposition as you could find. A similarly unconventional mix marked the marketing partnership that brought Gourmet, Macy's, and Showtime together for Monday night's premiere party for The Tudors at the magazine publisher's Times Square headquarters. Around 150 guests joined the trio of sponsors to celebrate the show's third season and the promotional campaign highlighting Tudor-style food and design.
“We're in a multichannel arena, and everyone is just looking for ways to increase viewers, readers, and consumers,” said Gourmet associate publisher of marketing and creative services Susan Bornstein. “When we look at partners, there has to be a way to showcase everyone as individuals, but in a way that's always organic.”
To keep the endeavor from getting overly complicated, Gourmet responded to Showtime's inquiry about ways to promote the show with the idea of a modern take on a traditional Tudor meal. They'd use the advertising pages to show an attainable version of the feasts showcased on the series. And to help with money and dinnerware, the magazine's longtime relationship with Macy's brought in Waterford crystal and Wedgwood china. Elements of the campaign include a four-page advertising spread in April's issue of Gourmet (complete with a table of Tudor-inspired meals designed by the magazine's executive chef, Sara Moulton), similar table settings in six Macy's flagship locations around the country, and a companion Web site where consumers can find ways to dine—and spend—like the Tudors.
The party itself was produced by Condé Nast's in-house events team and catered by the Gourmet Cooking Arts Center. Guests sipped wine and cocktails out of metallic goblets while picking over tables covered in British cheeses and passed plates of miniature beef Wellington, lamb meatballs, and Scotch eggs (hard boiled quail eggs rolled in sausage and bread crumbs and deep fried).
Food was the focus of the night, but The Tudors' elaborate costumes have found their way into most of the series' events. Instead of just setting them up on mannequins, though, series costume designer Joan Bergen fitted models with the costumes and posed them in a tableau vivant, where they presided over the cocktail reception like solemn royals.