Shelling out a Successful Campaign for Eventide Oyster Co.

What happens when the chefs at Eventide Oyster Co. are nominated for a national award? Well, they make a video and approach Might & Main to help them design and launch a full-scale campaign, of course.

When Arlin Smith, general manager, and Andrew Taylor and Mike Wiley, the chefs behind the brilliant menus at both Eventide and Hugo's, heard from Food & Wine Magazine that Taylor and Wiley were among 100 chefs across the country who had been chosen as nominees in the magazine's Best New Chef competition, they decided to launch a real campaign for the part of the competition that depends on popular votes: The People's Best New Chef. The contenders are divided by geographic region; the duo were competing against chefs from 9 other restaurants across New England, and the only Mainers on the list. They quickly assembled a crack campaign team consisting of their wives, girlfriends, babies, the amazing video production team at Portland Post Production, and Might & Main, to launch an all-out, multi-media, multi-channel assault. In less than two weeks. While Arlin, Andrew and Mike continued to run the kitchen at Eventide and gutted Hugo's in preparation for a complete overhaul and renovation. No problem!

Mike wrote the original video script which inspired messaging throughout the campaign. Portland Post Production shot the video on a Sunday, and by Thursday had edited a rough cut. Meanwhile, Might & Main was responsible for campaign graphics. The Eventide team was picturing an Obama campaign send-up of sorts; so our designs for posters and flyers were a conscious nod to the visual themes, fonts and colors from both the 2012 and the more iconic 2008 Obama campaigns. The Go With Your Gut slogan arose spontaneously during concepting. Taglines, headlines and stills were drawn from the video and used to create a series of get out the vote images designed for sharing on Facebook. An email template and website overlays for both Eventide & Hugo's placed the campaign front and center for digital audiences.


The campaign as a whole was a testament to the power of social media and sharing. From the video to the graphics and messaging, the idea throughout was to create things that were fun and compelling, and that would support and encourage the audience's natural tendency to share with their social graphs. In a typical week, pre campaign, Eventide's reach on Facebook was a steady 8-9,000 people. On the day the campaign launched, this number leapt to nearly 24,000 and has since doubled.

Early in the week of voting, the Food & Wine website showed that Andrew and Mike were trailing the New England leader by a few percentage points. The campaign team rallied for a strategy session. Andrew and Mike didn't want to selectively reward customer participation with a contest or giveaway, so we worked with them to find ways to genuinely inspire, rather than incentivize, shares and to further engage their already supportive online community. And it worked!


When the final results were revealed just seven days after the campaign initially rolled out, Andrew  and Mike had been chosen as The People's Best New Chef: New England. We had a lot of fun working with a great team to pull together and execute such a quick, goal-oriented project, and it was incredibly rewarding to see their customers, staff, friends and family rally around the campaign we helped to create. Congratulations to Andrew and Mike, and to the rest of the team at Hugo's and Eventide. Stay tuned for Food & Wine's July feature on the competition.

And if you haven't seen it yet, check out Patrick Sperry, CJ Lampman and Morgan Myer's excellent work on the campaign video here: