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Getting Paid to Party

Here’s an amazing marketing move to get people to eat more cheese — according to today’s Wall Street Journal — 1,000 American homes will hold wine-and-cheese parties on June 4, courtesy of the French government.

Which leads me to say … what the hell?
Apparently the French government is fearing the country’s highbrow food traditions have “alienated the average consumer.” So, in an attempt to boost sales of wine and cheese — France’s most lucrative exports — it is promoting a world-wide “aperitif” — the moment before dinner when the French kick back with a glass of wine and finger food.
The French Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, along with a bunch of French wine and cheese producers, is going to spend $2.1 million to sponsor cocktail parties in 19 countries across the world, including the United States.  More than 14,000 Americans have already signed up to host a party, but only 1,000 lucky few will get chosen. Those chosen will receive coupons offering 15 percent discounts on certain French wines and a free gift when they order French cheeses on specific websites. They’ll also get a hamper of French-themed party gear, including a CD featuring pop singer Carla Bruni, wife of French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
In return for the gifts, hosts must hold a party, take photos, and blog before and after, all in an effort to create a buzz about French wine and food. Afterward, they have to answer a questionnaire about how they like the products they tasted. French wine and cheese producers plan to follow up with a series of special promotions of French goods at local shops and supermarkets.
Actually, the more I think about this, the more brilliant this appears. Who doesn’t want to get paid to throw a party?  There’s got to be a way to apply this to Wisconsin cheeses somehow … anyone want to sponsor 1,000 Wisconsin wine and cheese parties during June Dairy Month?
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