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In 2019, Bon Appétit’s YouTube channel rolling pinned its way across the internet and into my cold heart. (Nestled right next to Baby Yoda.) I’m not alone: in a reverse “OK Boomer,” this 63-year-old foodie magazine consistently posts videos that are gobbled up by Gen Z.

So in a world where “branded content” is a four-letter word, why are they suddenly the hottest biscuit in the bakery? Because they’re real. (Or at least “real.”)

BA’s videos abound with shaky camera work, unplanned cameos, and a refusal to edit out the mistakes. Their channel is like a wholesome, behind-the-scenes reality show, where the actual cooking is second banana(bread) to the talented cast of their cinematic universe. The motley crew of professional chefs has amassed millions of fans and spawned so many memes.

It all works because it’s an authentic extension of their brand. Incorporating and investing in real people—charming personalities, unforeseen mess-ups and all—adds another dimension to the Bon Appétit name. And don’t discount that as a culinary magazine, cooking videos were a natural next step. In other words: it’s not necessarily reinventing the wheel, but it just makes sense.  

The people following BA’s YouTube, Instagram, and podcasts—being young and whatnot—might not even realize that it all started as a print magazine in the first place. Which means this potentially-stale magazine has used the same old platforms to re-establish itself as an authority for a whole new audience.

Nailing your own branded content might sound as difficult as producing the perfect chocolate soufflé, but follow Bon Appétit’s recipe by folding authenticity into expertise (and adding a dash of good humor) to make a super likable and shareable presence worthy of a chef’s kiss.

Have a fun-stuffed weekend, everybody!

—Your gourmet gang at Brokaw

Incorporating and investing in real people—charming personalities, unforeseen mess-ups—adds another dimension to the @bonappetit name.

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