NEW YORK, June 9, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- New York-based culinary agency, The Connect Group (TCG), founded in 2010 by former sports marketing agent Lonny Sweet, announced today it has tapped food industry PR and marketing veteran Gennifer Horowitz to lead and grow the firm's brand strategy and consulting practice. Horowitz will work with the team to develop initiatives for the agency's current roster of chef and corporate clients in the areas of consumer and B2B marketing, brand strategy, event and sponsorship management, media, and licensing. The hire comes as part of the company's recent rebrand and partnership with Knitting Factory Entertainment.
"Consumers' relationship with food has reached a tipping point and The Connect Group was the first full-service agency to focus solely on reaching audiences through that important lens," said Horowitz. "Food is woven throughout all aspects of pop culture, in more ways than even sports or entertainment. People develop natural associations through food, which means there is undeniable opportunity for companies to leverage that inherent passion to brand drive engagement and advocacy."
Horowitz joins The Connect Group from global public relations firm Porter Novelli, where she led a number of accounts in the agency's food and beverage practice, and Orange Palate, a specialty group she founded at Porter Novelli in 2013 to provide marketing and PR support for culinary talent and emerging food and spirits brands.
"Genn brings vast experience, passion for client service and unique industry understanding to the team, and we are so pleased to have her on board," said Sweet. "Under her guidance, TCG will continue to grow its brand strategy and consulting practice, and bring innovative solutions that push the envelope to all of our partners."
Horowitz will oversee TGC's current list of corporate clients including Citigroup Inc., Mexico Tourism Board and United Sorghum Checkoff Program.
Demonstrating further company growth, TCG has also added three new chef clients to its roster of top culinary talent. The company will now represent celebrated Los Angeles-based chef Ludo Lefebvre, 2009 Food & Wine Best New Chef Bryan Caswell and world-renowned Cuban cantinero/bartender Julio Cabrera, in addition to its current culinary clients, award-winning chef Marc Forgione, James Beard award winners Johnny Iuzzini and Michelle Bernstein, and New York Times best-selling author and digital personality, Ali Maffucci.
"Over the past five years we have helped some of the best culinary talent and Fortune 500 brands navigate the exploding culinary marketing landscape," said Sweet. "Our team's collective experience, both in and out of the culinary arena, gives us the unique ability to build effective, on-strategy programs for clients seeking to reach food-connected consumers. We are bullish about the power of culinary marketing and our position as the leading full service agency helping companies large and small capitalize on this important vertical."
The company has also been at the forefront of the sports and food marketing movement, revolutionizing culinary programming for both Major League Baseball and the New York Jets, and creating its own proprietary Super Bowl food event called the 50 Yard Lounge.
With the expansion of its team, The Connect Group has also promoted restaurant and culinary industry expert Cassandre Pallas, who joined the team in 2012 as a talent manager, to vice president of talent management. In her new role, Pallas will manage the day-to-day oversight of TCG's expanding client roster.
"Cassie has been an important part of TCG's movement into the culinary space and will play a key role in our growth as we expand our roster of chefs and brand partners," said Sweet.
ABOUT THE CONNECT GROUP
The Connect Group is the first full-service culinary marketing agency that specializes in reaching food-connected audiences through strategic food and beverage initiatives. Founded by Lonny Sweet in 2010, The Connect Group partners with brands, talent and media properties to leverage the passionate food and drink vertical and reach food-connected audiences through strategic culinary programming, sponsorships and marketing campaigns. For more information visit www.theconnectgrp.com.
ABOUT CEO LONNY SWEET
In April of 2008, after almost a decade in sports marketing and management at two of the world's top firms, IMG and SFX, Lonny Sweet launched Connect Sports & Entertainment (renamed The Connect Group in 2010), a sports, culinary and lifestyle agency based in New York. He began to focus specifically on the food and drink vertical in 2010 after signing Iron Chef Marc Forgione, followed quickly by James Beard Award recipients Michelle Bernstein and Johnny Iuzzini.
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SOURCE The Connect Group