Boston Pizza - Finger Cooking

Off to a Good Start (BRONZE)

Client Credits: Boston Pizza International
EVP Marketing: Steve Silverstone
VP Marketing: Joanne Forrester
Marketing Director: Keith Fawcett
Marketing Manager Digital: Ryan Ashton

Agency Credits: TAXI Toronto
Executive Creative Director: Darren Clarke
Senior Art Director: Niall Kelly
Art Director: Chad Kabigting
Senior Writer: Jono Holmes
Group Account Director: Edith Rosa
Account Manager: Emma Toth
Planning Director: Jeff Dack
VP Integrated Production: Cynthia Heyd
Media Agency: PHD
PHD Client Service Director: Zoryana Loboyko
PHD Group Account Director: Scott Henderson
PHD Media Planner: Stephany Sousa

Crossover Notes:
Crossover Notes: All winning cases contain lessons that cross over from one case to another. David Rutherford has been identifying these as Crossover Notes since CASSIES 1997. The full set for CASSIES 2012 can be downloaded from the Case Library section at

Crossover Note 1. What a Brand Stands For.
Crossover Note 3. Core Equity versus Price & Promotion.
Crossover Note 12. Changing the Goalposts.
Crossover Note 18. Keeping it Simple.

To see creative, click on the links that are embedded in the case.


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):September 2010–April 2011
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: September 2010
Base Period as a Benchmark: September 2009–April 2010

a) Overall Assessment
Since its infancy, the Boston Pizza brand has seen consistent growth. Across Canada, consumers from all walks of life love it because it’s a place where everyone feels welcome. It’s the kind of place where you can show up wearing track pants and work boots, with your buddies or with your family. Your kids can play and laugh out loud – there's no pretention. For Dad, there are TV screens playing sports all day in both the restaurant and sports bar. For Mom, there are over 100 menu items available and a great kids’ menu, so she knows her family is going to find something they really want to eat. Boston Pizza offers an unpretentious, friendly experience that’s fun, lively, and always enjoyable. [Crossover Note 1]

Across the casual dining category, Take Out and Delivery (TOD) has become the fastest growing segment. As the #1 casual dining chain in Canada, Boston Pizza wanted be a leader in this segment. In 2010, Boston Pizza completed the rollout of an online ordering system for TOD across all 345 locations, but at the time of the brief (June 2010), awareness of this service was almost non-existent. But all of that was about to change – big time.

Within Boston Pizza’s competitive set, only a select few offered an online TOD service, notably, Swiss Chalet. Others, like Milestones, Jack Astor’s, Casey’s, Kelsey’s, and Montana’s, were not players. Instead, we found ourselves up against the Pizza Pizzas and Domino’s Pizzas of the world. These competitors led the category in share of voice and general awareness of online TOD services, and their reliance on price-based offers added another barrier to entry. Ordering a $20 pizza that is just a phone call and thirty minutes away has been a long-held practice, but this was not the game Boston Pizza wanted to play. [Crossover Note 3]

The online TOD competitive landscape was a mishmash of offers and promotions: “Delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free,” “Order over $50 and receive a free dessert,” “No delivery charge,” and so on. Each competitor offered something to consumers who ordered online. But, by discounting, they risked affecting perceptions about the quality of their product. Boston Pizza knew they needed to provide offers to compete in the marketplace, but they were far more interested in offering a high level of quality and consistency in their TOD service. Massive discounting was not an option.

As we continued to look at the category, we soon uncovered one a point of difference for Boston Pizza: variety. Boston Pizza’s TOD menu lists over 100 items – a far cry from the “variety” found at pizza, Chinese, and burger joints. This was a golden opportunity for Boston Pizza.

Lastly, the competition’s media mix was heavy in newspaper, online banners, and DM. This left an open space on mass channels to communicate an online TOD message. [Crossover Note 12]

b) Resulting Business Objectives
1. Increase sales of TOD (online and phone-in) by 5%.
2. Increase awareness of online ordering by 5%, as measured via annual brand U&A tracking [HotSpex].
3. Achieve the above objectives without cannibalizing in-store sales and, in effect, create a new dining occasion for the Boston Pizza guest – take-out and delivery.

c) Annual Media Budget
$1 - $2 million

d) Geographic Area
National (Canada), excluding Quebec

a) Analysis and Insight
We spent time getting to know the after-work dinner routine of Canadian families. Cooking requires preparation, ingredients, forethought, and planning. With more Moms working, Dads are playing a larger role. But, even at the best of times, cooking dinner for the family is a pain for Dad. Kids are picky eaters and, as a result, Dad needs options. Oh, and by the way, it’s his night to cook!

When you consider that the average Canadian Dad is spending only two hours a day of family time at home, TOD becomes an easy call. He doesn’t want to spend the bulk of that time in the kitchen preparing dinner – he wants to spend it with his family. When it comes to making that all-important dining choice, he wants to make a quick decision that will make his family happy. Boston Pizza offers a menu with over 100 items: Crispy Chicken Pecan Salad for Mom, Bugs ’n’ Cheese for the kids. And Dad? He gets a Prime Rib Burger and he's the dinnertime hero. So it’s a win-win.

A new occasion is born.

Knowing that we wanted to connect with Dad and tell him that Boston Pizza is going to solve his dinner crisis, we needed to think about TOD in a new way. This started by introducing a new weekly occasion for Dad. We referred to it internally as “DINC” (Dine In No Cooking), and let Dad know that Boston Pizza’s full menu is available for TOD online. We didn’t want to take away the dine-in experience at Boston Pizza, but instead, we wanted to add a new occasion to the family’s weekly routine.

b) Communication Strategy
Even Dad needs a mentor.

Our Dad needed someone to go to for help when solving the dinnertime crisis. Sure, we could have sweet-talked him with promotional offers and dreams of winning a car, but we gave him a story he could relate to instead -- told from the perspective of a Dad just like him.

This led to the creative platform we called “Finger Cooking” and the introduction of “Bill.”

a) Media Used
> 30-second and 15-second TV
> radio
> digital pre-roll
> digital banners
> DM

b) Creative Discussion
Dad, meet Bill.

The TV campaign introduced the host of a mock cooking show called Finger Cooking with Bill. Bill didn’t believe in pots and pans, all he needed was his laptop and his finger. The campaign encouraged Dads to give cooking “the finger” and showed him how to get dinner on the table with just one click of the mouse. [Crossover Note 18]

By using the same structure as cooking shows that feature professionals Bill helped position Boston Pizza as the expert when it comes to TOD. And, he did it with a wink and a smile. (See Exhibit 1: Finger Cooking :30-sec TV.)

This highlighted a Family Pasta offer and encouraged Dad to take his family on an Italian adventure, all thanks to Finger Cooking.

Digital (Pre-Roll, Banners, Facebook)
This included two pre-roll spots on various sports and lifestyle websites. Each spot was tailored to cater to a specific site. “Caught” ran prior to a sports clip on networks like TSN and The Score. It suggested our Dad order something online while he waits for his sports clip to start. (See Exhibit 2: “Caught” :15-sec Pre-Roll.)

“Laying Down” led our lifestyle buy on networks like Yahoo and MSN. Did you know you could Finger Cook while laying down? Well, you can. (See Exhibit 3: “Laying Down” :15-sec Pre-Roll.)

Web banners highlighted each promotional offer and were tracked to measure which offer was deemed more appealing to our target. (See Exhibit 4: Promotional Web banners.)

A Facebook tab launched on BP’s corporate Facebook Page. It has since been rolled out to each franchisee store page to encourage online orders via Facebook. (See Exhibit 5: Online Ordering Facebook tab.)

Out-of-home messaging was posted in a few key markets to help spread the word and drive consumers to to order. (See Exhibit 6: OOH Campaign.)

Direct Mail
A national DM piece was dropped to help encourage the call-in loyalists to order online. (See Exhibit 7: National DM piece.)

This kit included eight elements, in addition to Finger Cooking stickers and magnets that restaurant staff placed in TOD bags. (See Exhibit 8: POS Elements.)

c) Media Discussion
The campaign had two waves of support.

The first was in Q3/Q4 of 2010 with the launch of TV, radio, OOH, digital, DM, and POS.

TV ran 1 x :30; radio ran 2 x :15 (in two separate markets due to varying price points of the Family Pasta offer) on two stations in Lower Mainland, BC. The OOH targeted Kingston. DM dropped nationally, with 2.5 million menus distributed.

The second wave was in 2011, with 15-second TV at lower weights, and digital banners. (See Exhibit 9: Media Plan.)

a) Sales/Share Results
The campaign resulted in an overall sales lift that was orders of magnitude ahead of objectives, and online TOD delivered the largest sales spike the brand had ever seen. In addition, as per objectives, this growth did not cannibalize in-store sales. [Details were supplied.]

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion
Overall, unaided awareness of Boston Pizza’s TOD service saw a positive shift, increasing by 14% (30% in 2011 vs. 16% in 2010). HotSpex research also showed that consumers were 65% more likely to know that Boston Pizza offered a TOD service, a measurement that far exceeded Boston Pizza’s corporate objective [Footnote 1] .

It’s important to note that Boston Pizza’s online ordering service has been around since May 2009, and phone-in and delivery since the mid-90s – two services that, at the time, accounted for 11% of Boston Pizza’s total sales. The Finger Cooking campaign was the first time the brand communicated its online ordering service and the traction it received had a direct correlation to the advertising campaign.

See Exhibit 10: HotSpex Awareness of delivery.)

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels: For the first flight, the TV media spend was on par with the amount spent year-ago. The digital media spend increased from 2009. Flight 2’s spending was less than flight 1’s.

Pricing: TOD menu pricing was not changed, discounted, or increased. Boston Pizza’s pricing and bundled offers were very similar to the competition’s.

Distribution Changes: There were no distribution changes made at the time of the campaign.

Unusual Promotional Activity: n/a

Other Potential Causes: n/a

Footnote 1: HotSpex Brand Tracking Study, June 28, 2011