I was up bright and early and braving the windswept streets of Hell’s Kitchen (this one, not this one) this past Saturday to cover the Rachael Ray/Dunkin’ Donuts “Gingerbread Express” event in New York City. The festivities were held in the New York Waterways Terminal and featured the kick-off of a national card drive to support Soldiers’ Angels, as well as the unveiling of Dunkin’ Donuts’ donation of one ton of coffee to service-people deployed around the world.
The event was held at the Waterways Terminal, which is where the ferries from New Jersey dock. Riders were greeted by servers clad in Dunkin’ Donuts scarves and Santa hats serving samples of hot chocolate and gingerbread lattes (pretty tasty). The visitors were invited into the main room, where cards were available for them to write messages to men and women serving in the armed forces.
The crowd grew a bit and, after a little while, Rachael Ray came out and greeted the crowd. She spent a few minutes in one-on-one interviews with a couple of folks from the press before disappearing backstage. Jon Luther, the CEO of Dunkin’ Brands, took to the stage and introduced Rachael as “brand ambassador” before correcting himself and saying “beloved brand ambassador,” which elicited a shout of “Thanks, Jon!” from Rachael backstage.
Out came Rachael, who told the crowd that she was thankful for the chance to be there, and proud to be representing Dunkin’ Donuts. She said that she was particularly proud of the fact that they had eliminated trans-fats from their products and admitted that possibly the best part of the deal was that she got free coffee. She spoke about the cards, which she called “the best gift service people can get this year – a hug.” She spoke a bit about Soldiers’ Angels and the work that they did.
In addition to the one-ton donation, customers at Dunkin’ Donuts stores will be able to fill out cards just like the ones at the event. The cards will be included in care packages sent to service-people during the holiday season.
The crowd seemed really excited for the chance to see Rachael Ray in person. Being up close to Rachael Ray made me acutely aware of her tremendous skills as a brand spokes-person. During the interviews she was giving, it was clear that she was getting in all of the important information into the conversation, which should be surprising when you consider that she is someone who became famous for explaining multi-step recipes quickly, clearly and concisely.
We had our trust point-and-click with us and we were able to capture a couple of photos, with admittedly mediocre results. Hey, this blog is about food TV, not photography. Check out the pics below…you can click to see the full-size version.
Labels: Rachael Ray