By Jana Schiowitz Posted February 9, 2012, 9:00 AM EST
NEW YORK To promote the third season of Swamp People, the History Channel recreated a Louisiana swamp at Chelsea Market, presenting the live exhibit February 2. The 5,600-square-foot space, executed by marketing and promotions agency Civic Entertainment Group, brings together live reptiles and fauna, Cajun cuisine, and artisans from the bayou, and will remain open through Sunday.
“I think for us, the show Swamp People is more than just about alligator hunting,“ said Chris Meador, vice president of consumer marketing for History. “It's really about the culture and life and history of the bayou and the swamp.”
The campaign kicked off with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, a visit from Louisiana's lieutenant governor, Jay Dardenne, and students from some of the city's public schools, who learned about life in the swamps through a conservation lesson. “We really wanted New Yorkers to get a sense of what being in Louisiana is like, with food, with culture, with events, with music, and with animals,” Meador said.
To fully represent the bayou through the marketing platform, Civic's team installed elements indigenous to swamp environments—15-foot-tall cypress trees, 6,500 gallons of water, six American alligators and red-eared Slider turtles, and a dock from which visitors can look into the murky waters.
A Cajun menu, which changes daily, includes dishes like Louisiana-style crawfish etouffee, fricassee of swamp rabbit and wild mushrooms, and Louisiana red beans with smoked sausage prepared by Louisiana's Cajun Ambassador to the World, chef John Folse. In an effort to highlight authentic people and experiences from Louisiana, a porch setting was created where Creole woodworkers and mud painters, and Cajun music from the band Sac Au Lait, entertain guests at the entrance.
Visitors also got the opportunity to meet the cast of the show and learn about swamp life from an on-site historian and naturalist. The new season of Swamp People, which follows the lives of Cajuns during the alligator hunting season, premieres today. “As a marketer, you realize you've done it right when New Yorkers genuinely get excited and almost childlike in their wonder in what they walk into, and that is rare to see,” Meador said.