Since founding Broadcast Media Group Inc. in Starkville in 1996, Robbie Coblentz has worked numerous marketing/PR campaigns all over the state and nation. The production company has won numerous awards for its work, including an international Telly Award just this past summer.
But he and his team recently completed work on the promotion of a new world record that might be the most unique project in the firm’s history.
“It definitely ranks right up there,” said Coblentz.
After months of planning and preparation, World’s Finest Chocolate, the Chicago company best known for its school fundraiser products, broke the record for the world’s largest chocolate bar Sept. 13.
Guinness World Records certified the 21-foot-long chocolate bar at a little over 12,000 pounds, smashing the previous record of approximately 9,700 pounds set by an Armenian firm in September 2010.
Broadcast Media was part of a larger team charged with documenting the world record attempt as well the launch of World’s Finest Chocolate’s “Think big, eat smart” child nutrition/anti-obesity campaign.
The world-record chocolate bar will be center stage for this promotion. World’s Finest Chocolate is bringing the chocolate bar, an exact replica of WFC’s $1 chocolate-almond bar, to schools across the nation. Using the bar to get the children’s attention, the program will teach eating healthy and in moderation, fighting what the company calls “portion distortion.”
So, how did a Starkville-based production company get involved in the promotion of a world record attempt by a Chicago company? It is all about a Mississippi connection that runs through Nashville, Tenn.
Broadcast Media was called in by Bill Hudson Agency, a full-service marketing/advertising firm based in Nashville. The agency recruited Broadcast Media to film the attempt at the world record and help develop subsequent advertising of the “Thing big, eat smart” campaign launch.
The president and CEO of the Bill Hudson Agency is Wayne Edwards. Edwards is a Canton native and Millsaps College graduate whose career includes stints as a staffer for former Mississippi Gov. Bill Waller and the late Sen. John Eastland.
Edwards said he loved “throwing work back to Mississippi,” but he has collaborated on numerous projects with Coblentz and Broadcast Media for nearly a decade now, and hired them for their talents and approach.
“They do just great work,” Edwards said. “They have a proven track record with us. And Robbie and all his people are always upbeat and positive.”
Prior to the world record attempt, a Broadcast Media team went to Nashville and shot a faux newscast as part of the promotional campaign. The company would spend roughly four weeks producing the piece that will be the centerpiece of the multimedia healthy-eating campaign.
While fun, the project to document the world record attempt was serious, sometimes nerve-racking, work. Broadcast Media was there as WFC personnel began the laborious process of pouring the tons of chocolate from special-made, 800-pound vats into the customized mold that weighed more than a ton.
After cooling, a special cart was hoisted up and strapped to the bottom of the chocolate bar. Then, the whole thing was flipped over and lowered.
If at any point the bar had cracked, the world record attempt would have been aborted and the campaign a loss.
Once the work was completed, Coblentz and his team went into fast-track mode. After three days of shooting, Broadcast Media editor Laura Crum endured an 80-plus-hour marathon session crafting the 15-minute promotional video.
The promotion has gained attention worldwide, picked up by media outlets as far away as the United Kingdom. ABC’s “Good Morning America” asked for the video and talked of doing a piece on the world record, though at press time it had not run.
Coblentz found both professional and personal satisfaction in the project. He sold WFC chocolate to raise money for his school back in the 1970s, and his children are currently selling WFC candy.
“I made a sale for my son while I was in Chicago,” Coblentz said with a laugh. “I gave (my son’s) sales form to (WFC CEO) Eddie Opler, and he said, ‘Hey, I’ll buy World’s Finest Chocolate anytime, anywhere.’ That was pretty neat.”