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Cateys 2019: Best Marketing Campaign Award – Inception Group

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Cateys 2019: Best Marketing Campaign Award – Inception Group

Sponsored by Amadeus

It’s not often that a hospitality marketing campaign is endorsed by a Hollywood actor, but this year’s Catey winner, pub and bar firm Inception Group, managed just that.

Ahead of the launch of the group’s latest venue, Mr Fogg’s Society of Exploration on the Strand in London, Inception Group aimed to raise awareness of the venue, not just locally but on a global scale, with a launch campaign that was “even bigger, better and more memorable than before”. As one of our judges said, Inception’s “creative, innovative and effective” campaign punched “well above its weight”, achieving “huge awareness for a tiny brand”.

To do this, it launched a campaign inspired by Jules Verne’s novel Around the World in Eighty Days, in which eccentric Englishman Phileas Fogg wagers he can travel around the world in 80 days. The campaign was advertised as a job role, seeking two people to go on a paid trip across the world on a journey following in the footsteps of Verne’s fictional explorer.

Witty, fun videos challenging aspiring adventurers, explorers and globetrotters to apply for the role, aimed at the brand’s target market – particularly young people living in London – went viral. The campaign was picked up by both national and international newspapers as well as more than 120 publications across the world, and reached more than one billion people globally – the editorial value of which is estimated at around £360,000. Even actor Ryan Reynolds made his interest known on social media.

The campaign reached 115,900 people – boosting the group’s social media profiles with more than 1,000 new followers less than a week after it launched – and the group ran paid social ads on Facebook, focusing on maximising online bookings and directing people to the website. During this time, the business gained more than 1,000 covers through online bookings before the venue had even opened and a 649% increase in social media traffic to the website.

In total, more than 8,000 ‘job applications’ were received from people across the world, with the final trip costing the group far less than the value of the coverage it received.

Instagram competitions, a #FoggFever Instagram story campaign and stunt videos around the bar opening garnered tens of thousands of views and engagements, raising local awareness for the new venue, while video content from Buzzfeed following the opening racked up millions of views.

As our judges pointed out – the ‘best job in the world idea’ is nothing new, but Inception Group took a tried and tested concept and “owned it”, making its campaign stand out with “clever content and great media coverage”.

What the judges said
“This clever campaign generated huge interest both in the UK and around the world. It hit the spot on its objectives and resulted in big gains in bookings for the new venue and massive engagement on social media – and all at relatively little cost.”
Andrew Merrett

“A clever, well thought-out campaign achieving excellent brand engagement; a fun approach to launching a new concept that delivered.”
Samantha Ratcliffe


The shortlist
Inception Group

M Restaurants, London

Marriott International

Rockliffe Hall, Darlington, County Durham

The judges
Jenny Harris, Communications director, the Ned London

Mark Lewis, chief executive, Hospitality Action

Mark McCulloch, founder, Supersonic Inc

Andrew Merrett, marketing and communications director, CH&Co

Samantha Ratcliffe, commercial director, Rebecca Recommends

Paul West, managing director, Ignite Hospitality Marketing

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