Creative Cage Match: King Arthur Flour vs. Cook’s Illustrated

It’s another hot summer month, and another Creative Cage Match is heating up. Now, just because I have no desire to cook or bake in this heat doesn’t mean someone else in a more temperate climate isn’t looking for a new recipe to try or kitchen gadget to pick up. I say go ahead, enjoy … I’ll be over here eating a caprese salad and fanning myself.

There’s a reason that pro-wrestling is so popular — and it’s not just the juicy drama and bespangled costumes. People love a good fight, and have for millennia, dating back to the gladiators of Rome and beyond.

So, once a month I’m going to select two marketers and toss them into a Creative Cage Match. I’ll be looking at everything ranging from email to direct mail, website to mobile site. It’ll be a mix of objective and subjective, and each time a marketer will walk out of the ring triumphantly.

The mercury keeps rising in our thermometers here in Philly, but just because I have no desire to cook or bake in this heat doesn’t mean someone else in a more temperate climate isn’t looking for a new recipe to try or kitchen gadget to pick up. I say go ahead, enjoy … I’ll be over here eating a caprese salad and fanning myself.Too Hot to Cook

On this side of the ring we have King Arthur Flour (KAF), a Norwich, Vt.-based supplier of flour, baking mixes, ingredients, cookbooks and baked goods. Founded in 1790 in Boston, Mass. under the name Sand, Taylor & Wood Company, KAF is an employee-owned company and is considered one of the best places to work for in the state of Vermont. Aside from their online presence — including a fully e-commerce site and blog — this baker’s paradise also has a print catalog.

And in the opposite corner we have Cook’s Illustrated, an American cooking magazine published by Brookline, Mass.-based America’s Test Kitchen (ATK). ATK produces several other publications, along with a cooking show, radio program, cookbooks … you name it, they’re involved. Cook’s Illustrated itself is bi-monthly, accepts no advertising and provides extensively tested recipes, as well as super thorough product reviews.

Email vs. Email

Most emails I received from cooking- or baking-based services/publications get my attention right away, due to my personal interest. But with these two contenders, I’m curious to see who gets the hot, summer food vibe right. Let’s start with King Arthur Flour:

King Arthur Flour email part 1 King Arthur Flour email part 2 King Arthur Flour email part 3The subject line reads: “The Complete Guide to Scone Baking,” and while I do love scones, I don’t think I’ll be firing my oven up to 425 degrees Fahrenheit anytime soon.

That said, if it’s not 93 and humid where you live, KAF does provide the full shebang when it comes to scones. Clicking through on the call-to-action button for the guide takes you to a highly visual web page that walks you through the basics of scone making, offers some tips to up your scone game, provides some recipes, as well as contact info for the Baker’s Hotline.

If you stick with the email, you’re rewarded with a legit scones baking tip, more recipes as well as some essential gadgets and a blog post on prepping scones ahead.

So, while I think an email about baking scones is a bit off for July, I think King Arthur Flour did an excellent job providing its subscribers with valuable content.

Author: Melissa Ward

Melissa Ward is the managing editor for Target Marketing, and she has opinions! More importantly, she's a nerd for great copy and design, a disciple of authenticity, and really loves it when marketers get it right.

2 thoughts on “Creative Cage Match: King Arthur Flour vs. Cook’s Illustrated”

  1. it would be good to know the results of these campaigns to see which one really brought in the most revenue. King Arthur may know from previous scone promotions that this is a winner as far as revenue.

    1. Thanks Jane … it would depend if both these marketers specifically code their links to indicate source and track. But in the nature of my Creative Cage Matches, it’s all based on my [informed] opinion, and for me, I’m not thinking about scone baking in summer.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment!

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