Keith Otter, chief creative officer at Intermark Group, on a tourism campaign at ‘Foodie Ginas’
Since 2005, the Alabama Tourism Department (ATD) has compiled a list of the best dishes throughout the state, making it easy for foodies to sample Alabama’s most outstanding food. In small towns and big cities, Alabama restaurants offer award-winning food trends and dishes. Whatever you’re hungry for, Alabama has a dish for it.
Cuisine is a vital component of the Alabama tourism experience. Recognising food culture is celebrated locally, ATD needed a unique way to captivate foodie audiences in its key markets.
We at Intermark created a campaign to drive foodies to Alabama by playing off ATD’s yearly ‘100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama’ list, which highlights Alabama’s award-winning chefs and their irresistible works of culinary art.
Our goal was to enhance perception of Alabama as a food destination by driving social media engagement and exploration of the food experience on the ATD website.
‘100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama Food Contest Campaign’ was born and promoted to food enthusiasts and an Intermark sub-target audience dubbed ‘Foodie Ginas’.
‘Foodie Ginas’ are heavy media consumers, family-vacation planners and decision makers who seek unique dining experiences, regional flavours, and local cuisine specialties.
This market also heavily engages in food and restaurant contests, which played into ATD’s multimedia campaign that ran from January-February of 2020.
To support the ATD’s annual ‘100 Dishes to Eat in Alabama’ promotion, creative flipped the popular pastime of speed-eating contests into events where contestants found Alabama’s unique food offerings so tasty, they just had to slow down and savor every delicious bite.
We coordinated the campaign to coincide with and playfully disrupt the food week activities occurring in nine markets: Charleston, Chicago, Kansas City, Los Angeles, NYC, Nashville, Washington D.C., St. Louis, and Charlotte.
With a budget of just under $1 million, we used print, out-of-home, and in-theatre ads to showcase different competitive food eaters savouring Alabama’s irresistible cuisine.
Rather than rushing through varying foods, competitive eaters slowed down and basked in the delightful flavours of Alabama’s offerings. In one print ad, a competitive eater with a full plate of chicken wings relished a single wing as adjoining copy noted Alabama was “destroying the careers of competitive food eaters one wing at a time.”
“You see ribs. A competitive food eater sees imminent defeat,” read another ad.
All creative encouraged viewers to taste the 100 dishes to eat in Alabama and visit the ATD website to learn more.
An accompanying 30-second spot featured four out-of-towners participating in an Alabama food eating contest. The contest began strong, but as the contestants tasted and appreciated the Alabama chicken wings, fast eating turned into a slow pleasure. The number count of wings eaten proudly remained at one.
An added social media component featured post-contest interviews with competitors who were ill-prepared for Alabama’s tasty delicacies. One participant even loosely quoted Ferris Bueller to describe his need to slow down and taste the sauce.
Website visits to the food experience landing page of ATD’s website increased 47% on a month-over-month analysis with more than 23,000 visits tracked from the nine media metro markets targeted. In addition, engagement with the ‘Food Contest’ paid and owned social media content was more than 900K, a 240% engagement lift on month-over-month tracking.
Time to sit back and slowly savour those results.
Keith Otter is chief creative officer at Intermark Group