local media insider

Top Ads Winner: "In the Kitchen" with the Sarasota Manatee Originals

A multi-media campaign that includes videos, recipes and print, took the top prize

Here's the page on the site. Notice the integrated "likes" (from Mike Blinder, of Blinder & Asstes and Shannon Kinney of Dream Local).

Advertiser: Sarasota Manatee Originals

Media: Observer Media Group, community weeklies & YourObserver.com
Campaign Title: In the Kitchen
Campaign Size: Roughly $67,000, including some trade
Key team: Leslie Gnaegy, Marketing Coordinator; Emily Walsh, Chief Digital Officer, and Eddie Kirsch, Web editor, Observer Media Group. 

Campaign concept: The Sarasota Manatee Originals is a group of more than 50 local, independently owned restaurants who collaborate to strengthen marketing efforts. A former advertiser, the Originals approached the weekly with a key objective. All the restaurants agreed they wanted to promote digitally and specifically to include video. 

Walsh and Gnaegy met with the president of The Sarasota Manatee Originals to map out a new strategy that combined video, multi-media and SEO: The creation of a series of "In the Kitchen" videos featuring member chefs that could be embedded in profiles on the Observer's site. The cost for the total program was about $67,000 in cash and trade. 

The "In The Kitchen" brand has been used by a number of cooking demonstration shows produced by local media, including one hosted by LA Magazine. The Observer's version relies on a multi-media campaign to asked viewers to "Join The Originals" in the kitchen and watch a video of them preparing a signature dish, and discussing their restaurant's history and their thoughts on being a part of the organization.  The video is shot in the kitchen and dining room.

Each video is hosted on the  Observer website, embedded in a longer profile of the restaurant chef that includes the recipe (see page and video here). Instead of simply posting the video on a directory page, the profile and receipe as appear as news. Theh video is also posted on the Observer's YouTube page and can be used on the restaurants web site. 

A weekly large color print ad that promotes both the association and the individual chef that week. It includes a QR code that links to the video:

Banner ads for the Manattees run with the headline: "Eat like a local,"  so the association and its searchable directory also gets some of the attention and branding. 

The videos are promoted again via the daily headline eNewsletter sent to the Observer Media Group database  of over 13,000 readers, and  mentioned in the Daily Headlines video news  broadcast filmed in the office. As a weekly, the Observer relies on the daily headlines broadcast to "fill in the blanks." 

Results: The results for this campaign were qualitative as well as quantitative: The videos educate locals and tourists about the back-story of each restaurant and create a more personal connection with the chef and staff. Since the location is a major tourist area, the campaign also worked to increase competitive SEO rankings over the well known national chains and franchises.  The restaurants were happy to have the video as an additional marketing tool and have had several guests comment on seeing the videos.

Judges' take: We scored this campaign as the highest this month in a combination of the three criteria:

Strength of concept: A simply great use of content marketing that includes a recipe and plays up the "celebrity chef" trend in which chefs want higher profiles and diners get some personalized background on the restaurant - plus a recipe. And of course it positions the restaurant group away from larger chain restaurants - in short it sells authenticity of the restaurants in a tourist town.

This concept was bold and requires a passionate commitment from the small staff, a two person team on the sale;  web editor Eddie Kirsch on site to shoot and edit professionally looking videos.  They pull it off!

Multi-media distribution and interactivity:  We like the combination:  Big color print with QR code; a profile page on the web site, with banner ads for the association, eNewsletter and video. All the bases were covered and used well.  We like that the profiles appeared on the web site, and not just in a directory - the look and feel is indistinguishable from other news on the Observer's site.

Results: Results were harder to measure with this campaign, in part because it was more qualitative and branding oriented. However, each restaurant received a professional quality video and an SEO worthy page on the site and profiles we checked ranked in the first few Google searches for the restaurant name. Overall exceptional value, for both the individual restaurant and the group. 

Finally, from a practical standpoint, judges gave extra points for how this campaign leverages an association; a great way to work smart to sell 50 restaurants, which may not otherwise have been possible. The Observer team  took advantage of a unique opportunity to create a winning campaign.

 Congratulations to Leslie Gnaegy, marketing coordinator, for submitting the campaign to LocalMediaInsider's Top Ads.

To enter TOP ADS click here.  A winner each month until April, 2013 will win $250, and national recognition. Besides LocalMediaInsider and athe Reynolds Journalism Institute, co-sponsors of Top Ads include:

Alabama Broadcasters Association American Society of News Editors Colorado Press Association

Florida Press Association

Inland Press Association

Kentucky Press Association

Local Media Association

Missouri Broadcasters Association

Missouri Press Association

Nevada Press Association

South Carolina Broadcasters Association

Washington State Association of Broadcasters

Washington Newspaper Publishers Association

Wisconsin Broadcasters Association

Wisconsin Newspaper Association


in the kitchen, dining, sarasota, manatee, walsh, gnaegy, observer media, video, restaurants, group, multi, seo