During the lockdown due to the pandemic, Shohreh Aghdashloo approached me to develop creative content ideas for her social media profiles while the world stood still. After brainstorming some concepts, we started working on the “Cooking with Shohreh” mini web series to keep her in touch with her followers and drive more engagement.
3.6 Million Views: Cooking with Shohreh (Web Series)
About Shohreh Aghdashloo
Shohreh Aghdashloo is an Emmy Award-winning, Oscar-nominated actress. Her prolific work on stage and screen has been lauded for decades in her native Iran and worldwide, especially in her adopted home, the United States. American audiences know her best from her Oscar-nominated performance in “House Of Sand And Fog” and her Emmy-winning role in HBO’s acclaimed “House Of Saddam.”
“There are a million ways to make Persian rice, and I have them all in my cookbook,” Shohreh kept telling me. So we looked at Persian cuisine and what dishes would be classy and easy to cook for everybody.
When she revealed that her daughter, Tara Touzie, had recently asked her how to cook Persian rice, I was intrigued by the idea that she would be the missing puzzle piece in the script. As a result, this mini web series could be both instructional and entertaining simultaneously, showing the wonderful mother-daughter relationship on camera.
We finalized the scripts of the episodes and asked her daughter to record the video footage, who would provide me with all the files to edit and put together.
Since the intention was to make this a mini-series, we leveraged the platform’s unique “series” functions on Facebook and Instagram for additional discovery opportunities.
Primarily created for Instagram’s vertical format, the “Cooking with Shohreh” episodes would be in a 9:16 aspect ratio (with the exception of episode 3) and posted in a 1:1 square format on Twitter for short teasers due to the 2:20 minute time limit.
Premiere episode – Tahdig
Episode one of the cooking show features one of the most basic and classic dishes in Persian cuisine, called “Tahdig”.
Tahdig is crisp rice that is removed from the bottom of the pot in which the rice has been cooked. It is usually served as a side dish to guests during a meal. Tahdig is often made with yogurt, saffron, and bread.
While on Twitter, the teaser video reached 31,600 views and 243 retweets.
Branding and Motion Graphics
After the success of the premiere episode, I created branding elements like a logo, an intro and more motion graphics to make it easier for the viewer to follow the instructions and give it a more sophisticated look.
The second episode features a more complicated dish called “Tah Chin”. Tah chin, an Iranian-Kurdish rice dessert, is primarily made of yogurt, saffron, and rice. You can add chicken fillets or vegetables to some versions.
Viewers continued to tune in. Episode 2 reached more than 870,000 views on Facebook with 1,800 comments and on Instagram, it generated 273,000 views with 1,700 comments.
The teaser clip received 6,700 views and 76 retweets on Twitter.
Publishing the “Cooking with Shohreh” mini web series added a new layer to Shohreh Aghdashloo’s social media presence. The audience was able to see her in a different environment and this made her even more relatable to many people.
Shohreh Aghdashloo was not the only one impressed. The series eventually led to an interview by a popular Iranian TV channel “Manoto TV”. Watch it here in Persian.
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