Big-Name Chefs, Low-Brow Food Carts = One Great Marketing Campagin

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I received this post from Biz Bash in my inbox last week – the idea for this launch was too unique not to share.

Here’s the BizBash article in it’s entirety:
“In a bid to drive traffic to its new Web site for New York and build anticipation for its soon-to-launch food component, Feast, NBC Local Integrated Media recruited four big-name chefs to serve free meals from food trucks on Monday. Hitting locations across the city, from Midtown and the Flatiron district to Union Square and SoHo, the street promotion distributed dishes from Paul Liebrandt (Corton), Daniel Boulud, Alain Ducasse, and Michael White (Convivio) to about 600 consumers between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.

Photo Credit: It's All Fare

But the free food wasn’t for everyone. To stay true to a locals-only campaign it initiated last year, the media company used city-centric trivia questions posted on NBCnewyork.com to find New Yorkers to feed. To prevent it from becoming a free-for-all, individual code words were issued in lieu of tickets and information about where the trucks would be and what time they would be serving was withheld until Monday morning. Produced and managed by creative agency Mother New York, the event also included a partnership with the upcoming South Beach Wine & Food Festival.

Seeking to highlight a sense of access and inside information provided by Feast and its local New York site, NBC and Mother New York extended a concept originally dreamed up for the site’s online music section. Just as the marketing team had created intimate 300-person shows for hip-hop artist Common at the Angel Orensanz Foundation and electronic band Shiny Toy Guns at Chicago’s Gallery 1028, they wanted gourmet chefs out of their kitchens and into something unexpected, where locals would have more access to them.

Photo Credit: Eater

“Our city Web sites [in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other markets] focus on capturing the pulse of the city. A large part of that focus is the who, what, where, why, when, and how of consuming one’s city. Where are the best shops? Best restaurants? Best exhibits? Feast is a significant next step in delivering that content, expertise, and access to consumers,” said Greg Gittrich, NBC Local Integrated Media’s vice president of content and editor in chief.

Also assisting was the managing editor of lifestyle content, Ben Leventhal, who, as founding editor of food blog Eater, helped bring in the chefs and the South Beach Wine & Food Festival. “[Festival founder] Lee Schrager and I have collaborated on several events over the past few years and I was excited to find an opportunity to work with him at NBC. Lee and South Beach have emerged over the last 10 years as one of the most important forces in connecting celebrity chefs with their fans and bringing haute cuisine to the masses, so they were an obvious partner on the truck event,” Leventhal said.

Feast will host a lounge in the main pavilion at the festival, which starts on February 25.

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