Redefining the value of dining out
Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism
A change in consumer patterns
A change in consumer patterns
By April 2021, a year of COVID-19 had impacted businesses and industries across the Commonwealth – perhaps none as profoundly as dining. Restaurants had weathered the pandemic in resourceful and imaginative ways, including establishing new safety protocols and developing curbside takeout programs. But as a recently released Restaurant Promotion Commission study showed, the biggest challenge restaurants faced was getting customers through the door. The fact is, in-person dining is essential to keeping restaurants viable. And, unfortunately, COVID-19 had only accelerated an online ordering and homeward dining trend that was making it difficult for many restaurants – even community anchors – to keep their doors open. That’s why the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism hired us to develop a campaign to address these changes in consumer patterns and provide much-needed support to a beleaguered industry that was essential to our way of life. With our successful My Local MA campaign well underway, and with the promise of vaccines encouraging residents to venture out for entertainment, we needed to give people a reason to choose Massachusetts restaurants.
- Social/Cause Marketing
- Social Media
- Stakeholder Outreach and Community Engagement
- Public Relations
- Email Marketing
Celebrating the dining experience
To kickstart strategic development, we gathered insights from restaurateurs, stakeholders, and locals on the state of the industry, consumer trends, and changes in dining practices. One thing became immediately clear: for most people, restaurants are where life happens. These environments foster invaluable experiences that can’t be recreated at home – and that most of us yearned for during the pandemic. Our approach, then, was to reconnect people with these moments and own the concept of going out, especially at a time when many other options were again becoming available. Purposely downplaying the word “restaurants,” Let’s Go Out brought together exciting typography and beautiful lifestyle photography with copy that reminded audiences of the commonplace but emotional experiences – birthday celebrations, romantic dates, and family gatherings – that make restaurants special. Our goal was to put dining front and center as people set out to rebuild their social lives.
Leveraging our existing My Local MA brand, we developed a phased campaign that included digital and social ads, paid and donated out-of-home executions, connected and broadcast TV commercials, radio, and print ads. A landing page expanded on the campaign message and gave visitors access to a convenient database of local dining options. Other tactics included organic social media, and e-newsletters to build support for our efforts. We also collaborated with Regional Tourism Councils (RTCs) to develop a video featuring conversations with local restaurant owners that highlighted the diverse culinary offerings available across the Commonwealth.
Let’s Go Out Massachusetts
The Let’s Go Out campaign showed how our My Local MA campaign and platform could be easily and enthusiastically adopted and adapted by partners and locals alike to support the restaurants we all know and love.
The campaign garnered over 135.9M paid and added value impressions. Digital ads surpassed the 0.93% industry benchmark, achieving a 3.33% click-through rate. Over 18,000 users navigated to our Let’s Go Out campaign landing page, and added value radio partners like iHeart Radio and Billy Costa emphasized the campaign across the state. Our TV ads aired during high-profile events like the 2021 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony, the Bachelorette finale, Patriots preseason game, Red Sox games, NBA finals, and more. These efforts were praised and amplified through a press conference at a local restaurant organized by the Governor’s Office.
Above One of our three TV spots
Below To encourage local engagement, we managed and produced a user-generated video featuring inspirational interviews with restaurant owners and staff. Each participant received a free swag box including question prompts, coasters, mugs, buttons, and canvas bags. You can watch the end result at the bottom.