Boston Pizza Promo, Case study MONTRÉAL / VANCOUVER PIZZA by Zip Media GmbH

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Industry Restaurants, Pubs & Bars
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Canada
Agency Zip Media GmbH
Released April 2011

Credits & Description

Category: Retail and E-commerce, including Restaurants
Vice President/Client Services: David-Alexandre Tanguay (Zip Communication)
Account Executive: Caroline Piché (Zip Communication)
Co-Creative Director: Jean-François Béliveau (Zip Communication)
President And Co-Creative Director: Michèle Leduc (Zip Communication)
Writer: Dominic Pagé (Zip Communication)
Executive Vice President Of Marketing: Steve Silverstone (Boston Pizza International)
Senior Director Of Marketing/Québec: Carl Pichette (Boston Pizza International)
Director/Regional Marketing/Western Canada: Brad Bissonette (Boston Pizza International)
Partner: Media For Quebec (Touché! PHD)
Partner: Media For British Columbia (Phd)
Media placement: Billboard Montréal - CBS - 13/04/11
Media placement: Newspaper ad - Journal de Montréal - 13/04/11
Media placement: Montréal Instore communication - Boston Pizza Restaurants - 13/04/11
Media placement: PR social and media campaign - N/A - 14/04/11
Media placement: Vancouver Instore communication - Boston Pizza Restaurants - 29/05/11
Media placement: Rogers arena sponsorship - Rogers arena - 29/05/11
Media placement: Billboard Vancouver - CBS - 29/05/11

Summary of the Campaign
Everyone comes knocking...
Hockey being Canada’s favourite sport, the playoffs are an obvious ‘prime time’ in the restaurant-sports bar set. The fans are listening. It’s the perfect opportunity to advertise. However, there is a downside: the playoffs become a tug of war.

Some knock pretty hard...
In the Canadian market, some of the biggest players in the competitive set have media budgets that are 5 times higher than Boston Pizza’s, and a big part is spent during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Newcomer Boston Pizza needed to find a way to be heard over these loud and recognised voices.

When your name doesn’t help matters...
The analysis revealed an added difficulty to an already challenging situation in Quebec: the banding issue. The Boston Bruins are the province’s beloved Montreal Canadiens' arch nemesis, so being called Boston Pizza is a problem, to say the least. To add fuel to the fire, during the first round of the 2011 playoffs, the Montreal Canadiens were going to play against the Boston Bruins. It was the 33rd time the 2 teams were up against each other in the finals - a league record. Boston Pizza had to find a way to be heard over mega players, in what seemed to be the worst context imaginable.

The Situation
The name of the game
How do you make your brand likeable in Montreal, Quebec, when your name is Boston Pizza and your NHL home team is facing the Boston Bruins in the hockey play-offs?

Our team
Boston Pizza is a 40-year-old Canadian brand of family sports bar/restaurants with over 340 locations throughout Canada. The first Boston Pizza restaurant opened in the province of Quebec in 2005. Like most national brands, Boston Pizza has to contend with different languages, cultures and competitive sets.

The Goal
Increase brand awareness, visibility and likeability during this key period.
Increase sales by 3% to the previous benchmark period by making Boston Pizza the destination of choice to watch the games during the very lucrative NHL play-offs season.

In Canada, hockey is a passion. During play-off time the passion can become a religion. The local team becomes the nation’s team and all Canadians embrace the brands that support their team.

The Strategy
A mass strategy
It was necessary to strike first and strategically in a play-off context. 10 billboards initially meant for another campaign were used as part of the Montreal Pizza offensive. A newspaper ad used the same creative and a web interpretation was placed on the Montreal Canadiens' website.

An engagement strategy
A PR campaign on social networks was orchestrated to bring the campaign to life within minutes of its launch. These actions allowed Boston Pizza to become the talk of the town in a very short time and helped the rebranded chain capture a special place in the hearts of the fans. Boston Pizza’s official website also featured the Montreal Pizza rebranding.

A strategy of proximity
Passing a Boston Pizza restaurant, fans of the team could immediately see that Montreal (Boston) Pizza was their place. The restaurants were 'corrected' through banners hung outside. Staff welcomed customers to Montreal Pizza

10 billboards were installed. A newspaper ad with the same creative supported the billboard ads. Passing by a restaurant, Habs fans knew immediately that Montreal (Boston) Pizza was theirs. All restaurant names were 'revised' thanks to banners that were hung over the neon sign, and inside all the marketing tools had been rebranded. The staff welcomed clients to Montreal Pizza, and the same went when answering the phone.

Hit hard; hit first...
A PR campaign on social networks was orchestrated to bring the campaign to life within minutes of its launch. These actions made Boston Pizza the talk of the town in a very short time and helped the rebranded chain capture a special place in the hearts of the fans.

When it was confirmed that the Canucks would face the Bruins in the finals, the campaign just had to be adapted to Vancouver (Boston) Pizza, and the media amplified.

Documented Results

What started with a $20,000 investment worth around 6m impressions, ended up generating 45m impressions across Canada. The campaign created a lot of buzz on social media. On Twitter, Montreal Pizza became a trending topic in Canada, and Vancouver Pizza a trending topic worldwide.

The buzz became strong enough that the campaign made the news on every local radio and television channel, and was mentioned in the papers. National news outlets were next to cover the campaign. In the end, the story was even picked up internationally: both the Montreal and the Vancouver Pizza campaigns were mentioned in famous Sports Illustrated magazine. The campaign got coverage in USA Today, and on ESPN.

Not only did Boston Pizza increase in popularity, it became by far the most talked about brand. At the end, sales augmented by 12.48% compared to the benchmark period, according to Same Store Sales Growth.