Celebrity Endorsements: Antonio Carluccio on Marketing (College) Restaurants & Courses

Asking celebs for interviews is a great marketing tactic.Sometimes it is hard to get our target audience to listen to us …. but they will often listen to a celebrity.

Of course celebrities come in all shapes and sizes and getting them to promote your courses could be problematic.

But it isn’t impossible.  Learn how below.

Several times in my career I’ve asked celebrities to help me and, when I’ve represented a college, I’ve never been refused.  And, if you approach them in the right way, and at the right time, they will not charge you.

For example I wanted some words of wisdom from a major chef and had the chance to interview Antonio Carluccio as he was launching a new restaurant in the Carluccios chain.  In this case I submitted a series of written questions to his PR people and he answered them in writing as he’d be really busy on the night and this saves time.  His answers are below.

Then on the night I met with the Carluccio’s MD, Simon Kossof, (remember Antonio no longer owns Carluccios but acts as a consultant to them).  We had great meal and I was then able to also question Simon as well .. so two interviews for the price of one.  Plus I managed to take a whole series of photos I have since used for promotional purposes.

Using celebs to refer you is a great word of mouth strategy that beats almost any other form of Word of Mouth.


How Do You Contact Celebrities?

Almost all celebs make use of agents and the easiest way to find them is to use Google.   Just go for searches like, Who is abc xyz’s PR agent?   This invariably finds me the person I need to speak to.  The role of the PR is to get news of the celeb into the world, so the trick is to help them achieve this.  Do that and you’ll get your interview.


How to Get Celebs to Interview at Nil Cost

Explain to a celeb or their agent that you want to interview them to encourage young people to go to college and nine times out of ten there is no charge.  Of course you shouldn’t expect to have to pay .. a journalist wouldn’t, so why should you.    If you also explain that the interview will go on your website, on social media and into print they normally forgo any fees.  They’ll even supply you with stock images.


Over the years I’ve interviewed chefs, actors, a Dragon from Dragons’ Den.  Each time it was really easy to set up and a real pleasure.  Better still the interviews produced results when used to promote courses and careers


Audio and Video Interviews with Celebs

If you have to submit a list of questions then ask for the answers to be recorded on audio or video.   Edit you questions in later and you have a great video or audio resource for marketing.



The Antonio Carluccio Interview

Each of these answers could be used as a soundbite type quote in literature or on the web.

1. Is your opening of several new venues a reflection of the British palatte becoming more sophisticated?

I think it is a sign that people are learning that great food doesn’t need to cost the earth. Carluccio’s is a success because it offers diners authentic Italian food, made from quality ingredients at reasonable prices.


2. You are known for your Italian dishes, especially funghi, but what is your favourite British dish?

My favourite dishes have to be Steak and Kidney pie and bacon rolls.


3. What are the most essential ingredients in your kitchen?

High quality oils, flours and fresh tomatoes.


4. Are dried ingredients ever a worthy substitute for fresh produce? Why?

Yes, they can be, for instance pasta and dried pulses are great things to have in your cupboard.


5. What about your equipment, what is the most important piece of equipment in your kitchen?

Undoubtedly the stove and oven.


6. What advice would you give anyone wanting a career in the restaurant business?

To not believe that they will necessarily become very rich and famous and to never lose sight of the fact that the food is the most important thing.


7. What makes people return again and again to your restaurants?

I think it is the case that when your restaurant applies the rules of having a nice ambience, professional and friendly staff, the most authentic cuisine possible and low prices, then you become the talk of the town.

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