Cateys 2017: Best Marketing Campaign, Pho

10 July 2017 by
Cateys 2017: Best Marketing Campaign, Pho

Sponsored by Amadeus

Pho's attention-grabbing marketing campaign cleverly turned Christmas on its head. The 23-strong Vietnamese restaurant chain serves an Asian menu, so it had to think differently to capture business over the festive season.

Taking the view that the holiday period is over-hyped, the marketing team bypassed Christmas bookings and sought to tap into the less competitive space of the "morning after".

The objective was to position Pho's signature noodle dish, pho, as the ultimate hangover cure. The campaign, which ran from the end of November and throughout December, set out to achieve this with a modest budget of £10,500 and without discounting. It used fun literature and made creative use of social media to communicate the message that Pho is the best place to cure festive hangovers.

The target market was 18- to 45-year-olds living in London, Manchester, Bristol, Cambridge, Leeds, Birmingham and Brighton.

Pho's website was also updated with a "Hangover Cure Kit" - a set menu of a drink, starter and main course, either for order instore or delivery via UberEATS.

In London, Pho also set up a partnership with UberEATS to give away 3,000 bowls of pho on Friday 16 December, which it identified as the "most hungover day of the year" - the day after the most popular night for office Christmas parties. By playing on this, Pho owned the "most hungover day of the year" with @PhoRestaurant a trending topic on Twitter.

The campaign certainly grabbed the public's attention. Over the period, press coverage and shares on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram reached 367,000 people and Pho also tapped into UberEATS' database of 93,000. In total, the reach was 2.9 million people. On the financial front, the target was to increase December sales by 5% year on year, like-for-like and boost average spend per head by more than 3%. The reality was that December like-for-like sales surged by 11.4% , and there was a 4.2% lift in average spend per head, year-on-year. Plus, eat-in covers increased 4%, which was the best performance over a period in the financial year. The return on investment was an impressive 1,050% - all achieved without offering any discounts or money-saving offers.

It was clear to the judges that Pho achieved remarkable results by implementing a simple, fun, creative idea across multiple platforms, which was targeted to reach the right people, at the right time, with the right message. And because hangovers aren't just for Christmas, the campaign has established the brand as the home of the 'go-to' hangover cure, a benefit for its bottom line for years to come.

What the judges said
"Great twist for the time of year and an impressive return on investment." Stephen Wilkinson

"A clever understanding of where the opportunity lay and a fantastic creative initiative to fit the bill. The narrative threaded through the entire campaign, coupled with clear objectives and target market, all tied to standout outcomes.
This entry stood tall above the others."
James Newman

The shortlist
Brewhouse & Kitchen, Gordon Ramsay Group
The University of Sheffield

The judges
Paul Adams, Vincent hotel
Stewart Davies, GG Hospitality
Ann Elliott, Elliotts Marketing & PR
Paul Goodale, Epicurean Holdings
Anita Murray, William Murray Communications
James Newman, Red's True Barbecue
Sue Pimblett, University of Leeds
Samantha Ratcliffe, Oddfellows Hotels
Paul West, Ignite Hospitality Marketing
Stephen Wilkinson, AA Hotel Services

TagsCateys and Pho
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