Pat & Oscar’s – Summer of a Million Breadsticks
The success of restaurant chain Pat & Oscar’s came to a halt in October 2003 when a handful of their locations were accused of serving food contaminated with e-coli. It was later determined that the lettuce supplier was the source of the outbreak, but the damage was done and sales plummeted 80 percent. After three months of intense crisis communication and damage control, Westbound recommended making a strategic shift back to positive marketing and was hired on to boost overall brand awareness in Southern California.
Together with the Pat & Oscar’s marketing team, we created Summer of A Million Breadsticks (SOAMB) – a multi-faceted program involving the giveaway of one million of Pat & Oscar’s signature, hot-and-buttery breadsticks. SOAMB began with a kick-off week where fans competed to be the breadstick mascot. From there, a charity day was held where proceeds from the breadsticks went to a local children’s hospital, and breadstick eating contests were staged at local stores and at the stadiums of the LA Angels and San Diego Padres.
Our strategy to combine community outreach, media relations and special events was a success. One million Southern Californians tried the breadsticks, and more than a third of those paid a visit to Pat & Oscar’s for lunch or dinner. By the end of the campaign, more than 9.6 million people were exposed to the SOAMB program throughout all of Southern California, and a total of $256,290 in advertising value was secured in editorial print and broadcast media. The program also helped us secure the 2005 PROTOS Award for Total Consumer Campaign from the Orange County PRSA.
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