Some people get all hot and bothered when walking by windows full of Jimmy Choos or consumer electronics or dolls or those roast ducks in Chinatown. When I spy an all clad, copper core cooking set in a Williams-Sonoma storefront or see some Wagyu fillets in the local Whole Foods’ butcher’s display, I start salivating with want.

Now, thanks to the launch of video offerings by the higher end house wares retailer and higher end natural foods grocer, those visions of kitchenware and quality ingredients that cause gastronomique pangs of desire are only a few clicks away.

Of the two, Williams-Sonoma definitely wins out on the cool factor. Last week they began incorporating videos into their site to supplement their rather extensive recipe offerings. Produced by web video production and distribution company, TurnHere, they’re mostly your normal how-to cooking fare (from Classic Roast Chicken to Banana’s Foster), but what shines are the product featurettes.

Check out the video about Shun knives, aka the Hattori Hanzo swords of kitchen cutlery, aka my latest fetish:

Awesome production, but the video player needs work. It’s way too small, loads too slowly, and it doesn’t give me any download, sharing, or subscription options. On those fronts, Whole Foods does a much better job.

Hosted by marketing manager, Scott Simons, The Secret Ingredient launched late last year and features Scott with a variety of special guests concocting things delicious in the Whole Foods Culinary Center above their Bowery Store in New York City.

As the name suggests, each installment highlights a super special ingredient that you can conveniently purchase at your local Whole Foods franchise. It’s well done. Similar to Paula Deen, Scott’s congenial southern drawl makes you feel like everything’s easy peasy, and his culinary knowledge is capable of producing enough anecdotes and info to keep foodie minds engaged.

It’s not nearly as slick as its television counterparts, but definitely watchable. Whole Foods also does a great job of including download and subscription options.

The idea is nothing revolutionary but it’s always nice to see big companies enter the online video space in smart ways with at least relatively thoughtful execution. And as much as I’m all about brands producing web series as a marketing tactic, sometimes it’s nice to see them stick to basic vids.

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