I have heard ad people say that it’s either the most terrifying or the most exhilarating time to be in our business. Being an eternal optimist, I side with the latter.
No other time has afforded our industry the opportunity to devise solutions for our clients with a virtual endless choice of technology, platforms and possibilities to help us engage with an audience.
One recent success story for us is The Pike Place Market Farm Fresh Lunches. Farm Season is the most important time of year for Pike Place: the bounty’s aplenty and the tourists a-many. But the Market faces a challenge in convincing Seattleites that the Market is theirs—given “fresh” local farmers markets’ popularity in many neighborhoods—and to shop it regularly.
And, Pike Place is a quasi-governmental organization with understandably tight budgets. In the past, the Market had run paid media at the level they could afford to a buckshot audience prompting Seattleites to get over the parking burden and crowds to shop during Farm Season. Our client challenged us to approach it a different way.
First, we shrank the audience. Shrink the audience? Well, yes, the qualified audience. Instead of reaching out broadly, we focused on those whom realistically would decide to shop the Market more often: people who live or work downtown. So, we came up with the idea of a downtown lunch series to interrupt the daily grind of Seattleites and remind them of the Market’s proximity and value.
Partnering with favorite Market eateries—Tom Douglas, Matt’s in the Market, Steelhead Diner and Marché, we hosted five summer Wednesday pop-up restaurants. Each $5 lunch offering was created with farm fresh ingredients from the Market and took place in select worker hub locations that we staged with picnic tables and bright Market flower bouquet centerpieces. We handed out branded reusable shopping bags (you know about the bag ban in Seattle?) with coupons inside to drive Seattleites back to the Market.
We served about 1,000 of these fun, delicious brand experiences, bringing the Market to attendees. In response, they’ve shopped: coupon redemption back to Market farm tables has been strong. The message also was amplified through participants’ Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, and we attracted influencers like Marcus Samuelson of Top Chef Masters fame who tweeted and blogged about the program.
Just one example of a right-sized, innovative solution to a business challenge from a great client. Now that’s exhilarating. See? Told you so.