The Joy of Finger Cooking

Services--General (BRONZE)
Best Launch (BRONZE)

Client Credits: Boston Pizza International
Steve Silverstone: EVP, Marketing
Alex Green: VP, Marketing
Andrew Borsk: Marketing Manager

Agency Credits: TAXI Canada
Darren Clarke: Executive Creative Director
Niall Kelly: Associate Creative Director
Irfan Khan: Writer
Darren Clarke: Writer
Niall Kelly: Writer
Brooke Hennessy and Niall Kelly: Designers
Dave Luxton: Associate Creative Director
Edith Rosa: Group Account Director
Anna Halfpenny: Account Director
Tamara Gervais: Account Manager
Adam Brain: Digital Strategist
Brie Gowans: Integrated Producer
Jen Shapiro: Print Producer
Esther Sanchez and Brooke Hennessy: Illustrators
PHD: Media Agency
High Road Communications: PR Agency

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 2013 can be downloaded from the Case Library section at

Crossover Note 3. Core Equity versus Price & Promotion.
Crossover Note 6. Should the product be improved?
Crossover Note 12. Changing the Goalposts.
Crossover Note 28. Media Learning.

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


Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):September 2010–February 2012
Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: September 2010
Base Period as a Benchmark: September 2009–August 2010

a) Overall Assessment

In the casual dining category, Take Out and Delivery (TOD) has become the fastest-growing segment. As Canada’s #1 casual dining chain, Boston Pizza wanted to be a leader in this segment. As a result, they needed to try something different, something that would break through the clutter of a category dominated by quick-service restaurants (QSR) that focused heavily on promotions and endless discount offers – “delivered in 30 minutes or less,” “buy one get one free,” etc. Boston Pizza knew they couldn’t compete with the QSR model and had no interest in being just another player in a sea of sameness. [Crossover Note 3]

Having more than 100 menu items available, Boston Pizza could deliver on any need or craving. [Crossover Note 6] A focus on variety was unique to the category, as key players were mainly the Pizza Pizzas and Domino’s of the world. Other casual dining competitors, such as Milestones, Jack Astor’s, Casey’s, Kelsey’s, and Montana’s, had not yet tapped into the world of TOD, so time was of the essence.

How did Boston Pizza communicate their TOD service? In Fall 2010, we introduced a new online ordering platform and naming convention, “Finger Cooking,” a cooking solution for men, aged 25 to 54, who can’t be bothered to cook. To Finger Cook, all you need is your finger and a computer and dinner is done. Finger Cooking was rolled out across all 360 Boston Pizza locations, and they were now officially in the Take Out and Delivery business across Canada.

b) Resulting Business Objectives

  1. Launch a new TOD offering across all Boston Pizza locations and build equity in Finger Cooking
  2. Build awareness of Boston Pizza’s TOD offering and drive traffic to
  3. Increase online TOD sales by 10% year over year
  4. Achieve the above objectives without cannibalizing in-store sales

c) Annual Media Budget
$1 - $2 million

d) Geographic Area
National (Canada), excluding Quebec

a) Analysis and Insight

Canadian families are busier than ever. Moms and dads are both working and there are nights of the week when dad is in charge of the cooking. More often than not, dad isn’t all that excited about having to get dinner on the table. So what’s a hardworking dad to do? The answer required no knowledge, no skill, and no patience. The only requirements were something readily available to dad – a finger and a computer. Dad could please the family with over 100 menu items to choose from, and spend more time with them with Finger Cooking. [Crossover Note 12]

b) Communication Strategy

How do we connect with dad and become his first choice for TOD?

1. Find the media white space

There was a huge opportunity to communicate something different in the category. The competition’s media mix was heavy in newspaper, radio, online banners, and DM. This left an open space on mass channels to communicate an online TOD message. [Crossover Note 28]

2. Redefine the category and introduce an entirely new way to think about cooking

In Year One, Boston Pizza would introduce the world to Finger Cooking. Dads needed someone they could relate to when looking to solve their dinnertime crisis, and they also needed tools and tricks to remind them of just how easy getting food on the table for the family could be. So Boston Pizza introduced dad to Bill, the host of his very own cooking show. Bill was the first person to show dad how to get dinner on the table with just one click of a mouse!

3. Enhance the user experience and continue to deliver on our “variety” proposition in a deeper way

When it came to the next chapter of Finger Cooking in Year Two, Boston Pizza wanted to make it a better and more immersive experience. Step one was to make the website faster, easier, and better. Step two was to introduce a cookbook. Famous chefs frequently publish their own cookbooks after hosting a successful cooking show, so it made sense for Boston Pizza to do the same, with The Joy of Finger Cooking. It is the only cookbook with “recipes” that would allow dad to NOT cook, spending more time with the family, and devoting more time to his projects in the garage. This was the cookbook every man had always dreamed of, and all he needed was his computer, his finger, and the brand-new redesigned online ordering website. 

a) Media Used

Year One launched in Sept 2010 and included 30-second TV spots, OOH, digital pre-roll, digital banners, DM, and POS. Support continued in 2011 with media at lower weights and consisted of 30-second and 15-second cut-down TV spots, as well as digital banners.

In January 2012, Year Two kicked off with a national TOD DM drop, 30-second and three 15-second TV spots, the relaunch of, digital pre-roll, digital banners, a Facebook tab, in-store POS, and PR. 

b) Creative Discussion

Year One Launch: Finger Cooking with Bill

This launched with the introduction of Bill and his cooking show, Finger Cooking with Bill. Bill didn’t believe in pots and pans – dinner was easier than that. He showed Canada how to Finger Cook and helped position Boston Pizza as an expert in offering variety in the world of TOD.

Bill walks onto the set of his show. He positions himself behind the kitchen counter filled with Boston Pizza dishes and speaks to the camera. He understands that satisfying the entire family at mealtime can be tough. But Bill’s got the answer – Finger Cooking. (Please see Exhibit 1: 30-second TV, “Finger Cooking”)

DIGITAL (pre-roll and banners)
This included two pre-roll spots on various sports and lifestyle websites. (Please see Exhibit 2: 15-second pre-roll, “Caught” and Exhibit 3: 15-second pre-roll, “Laying Down”)

Web banners highlighted promotional offers and were tracked to measure which offer was more appealing to our target. (Please see Exhibit 4: Promotional Web banners)

Messaging was posted in a few key markets to help drive consumers to (Please see Exhibit 5: OOH campaign)

A national DM piece encouraged the loyal, call-in customers to order online and introduced them to Finger Cooking terminology. (Please see Exhibit 6: National DM piece)

A POS kit included eight elements, in addition to Finger Cooking stickers and magnets that restaurant staff placed in TOD bags. (Please see Exhibit 7: POS elements) 

Year Two: The Joy of Finger Cooking

Whether you’re a food innovator, an amateur chef, or someone with no cooking skills whatsoever, there’s going to be a time when you just don’t want to cook. That’s where The Joy of Finger Cooking comes in -- the only cookbook for people who don’t want to cook.

Instead of mailing out the TOD flyer typical of the category, BP sent out The Joy of Finger Cooking. It was twenty-four pages long and showed people how to not cook all of Boston Pizzas TOD items. (Please see Exhibit 8: The Joy of Finger Cooking book spreads)

There was one 30-second spot (“The Other Cookbook”) and three 15-second spots (“Garage,” “Prisoner,” and “Assembly”). In these spots, consumers meet various dads and dudes in situations that prevent them from wanting to cook. The Joy of Finger Cooking cookbook is  the hero, showing just how easy ordering take out from can be. (Please see Exhibit 9: “The Other Cookbook” and Exhibit 10:“Garage,” “Prisoner,” and “Assembly”)

DIGITAL (banners, pre-roll, Facebook)
This focused on driving traffic to the redesigned site.

Web banners appeared on various sports and lifestyle websites. There were two versions. One had a sports focus – “Don’t let cooking time get in the way of game time” – while the other played more directly off the insight, “Put food on the table without setting foot in the kitchen.” (Please see Exhibit 11: The Joy of Finger Cooking banners and Exhibit 12: The Joy of Finger Cooking pre-roll)

A Facebook tab launched on Boston Pizza’s corporate Facebook page. On this tab, visitors could view the 30-second spot, download their own digital copy of The Joy of Finger Cooking, and start Finger Cooking with a direct link to the online ordering site. In addition, Finger Tips were posted two to three times per week on the wall, sharing all the various joys of Finger Cooking with our Facebook fan base of close to 50,000 people at the time of the campaign. (Please see Exhibit 13: The Joy of Finger Cooking Facebook tab)
We had discovered there was a huge drop-off after first orders because of some issues with the site. The relaunch took place at the beginning of January 2012 and focused on three goals: menu, locations, and online ordering. For The Joy of Finger Cooking launch, the banner on the home page featured the cookbook among a variety of food items. People could now experience just how easy and fast Finger Cooking could be. (Please see Exhibit 14: menu landing page, Exhibit 15: promo banner, and Exhibit 16: The Joy of Finger Cooking landing page)

A POS kit included a thousand copies of The Joy of Finger Cooking cookbook to be offered to guests and a poster to hang at the front of the restaurant. (Please see Exhibit 17: The Joy of Finger Cooking poster)

There were two separate PR pushes. The first was the week before launch, reaching out to men’s lifestyle- and food-focused media. The Joy of Finger Cooking cookbook was delivered, along with other branded pieces and a Boston Pizza Gift Card. The second push was the weekend of February 4, when the Super Bowl and UFC 143 took place. This was the perfect opportunity to position The Joy of Finger Cooking as the go-to resource for men. To get the word out, lifestyle, sports media, and bloggers communicated how to “mentertain” using The Joy of Finger Cooking.



































c) Media Discussion

The first year of media included two waves of support. The first was in Q4 2010 and included the launch of one 30-second TV spot, OOH targeted to Kingston, digital, and national DM with 2.5 million menus distributed.

Wave two of Year One support was in 2011 and consisted of the same TV creative as 2010, one 30-second and one 15-second TV cut-down spot on specialty stations only, and refreshed standard digital banners with a cost-per-click (CPC) messaging strategy. (Please see Exhibit 18: 2010 Boston Pizza Media Summary, TOD and Exhibit 19: 2011 Boston Pizza Media Summary, TOD)

In January 2012, Year Two support began with The Joy of Finger Cooking launch and consisted of a national TOD DM drop where close to two million copies of the cookbook were distributed. TV began with two weeks of 30-second support and was followed by three 15-second spots that ran and rotated for an additional three weeks. After the five weeks of TV support, 15-second creative continued at low weights on specialty TV and will continue to run through the end of the year. Standard IAB banners, along with an expandable rich banner and pre-roll, kicked off the digital activity and ran for four weeks. Standard IAB banners continue to run for Finger Cooking on specific sites and will drive to online ordering until the end of 2012.
(Please see Exhibit 20: 2012 Boston Pizza Media Summary, TOD)




a) Sales/Share Results

In Year One, Finger Cooking was off to a great start. Six weeks after launch, TOD online sales had doubled and made up close to 12% of total TOD sales (vs. 6% in August 2010). Overall, unaided awareness of Boston Pizza’s TOD service saw a positive shift, increasing by 14 points (30% in 2011 versus 16% in 2010). Research 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 (HotSpex Brand Tracking Study, June 28, 2011). At the end of Year One support, TOD SSSG (Same Store Sales Growth) had increased +21.1% and online sales were up +123.8% compared to the four months prior to the launch.

With such great results in Year One, Boston Pizza knew it would be a challenge to continue the positive momentum in Year Two; however, they didn’t have to wait long to see more positive results. In week one alone of The Joy of Finger Cooking support, a Boston Pizza online sales record was broken. Record high results continued, as they surpassed a previous online ordering high of 10,984 orders with 14,706 orders in one week. Online ordering saw double-digit growth throughout the promotional period and peaked in the third week of the program, with a lift of over 80% versus a year ago (VYAG). Total TOD SSSG was also up by +19.4%, an improvement in trend from Q4 2011’s +10.8% growth.

TOD, as a revenue centre, saw double-digit growth throughout The Joy of Finger Cooking promotion. Two big TOD days, Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day Heart-Shaped Pizzas®, saw lifts of 34% and 21%, respectively. Online ordering was up nationally by 125% on Super Bowl Sunday. The overall goal of achieving 10% growth year over year was far exceeded, with +59.3% online ordering SSSG after the fourth week of Year Two support.

Another objective was also met in both Year One and Year Two: TOD growth did not cannibalize in-store sales. In-store SSSG was flat during Year One at +0.3%, and at the start of Year Two, it was +4.4% (versus January 17 to February 27, 2011). This proved that not only had the past two years been a great time for TOD, it had also shown benefits in-store, demonstrating yet again that Finger Cooking had created a new dining occasion for Boston Pizza. Guests had embraced the many joys of Finger Cooking and Boston Pizza had the results to prove it!

b) Consumption/ Usage Results

c) Other Pertinent Results

d) Return on Investment

a) General Discussion

It’s important to note that Boston Pizza’s online ordering service has been around since May 2009. Phone-in and delivery was available since the mid-90s in a few regions. At the time, these services 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 in the form of sales, new members to the online ordering system, and overall increase in brand awareness had a direct correlation to the advertising campaign. People didn’t know Boston Pizza offered TOD – now they do.

b) Excluding Other Factors
Spending Levels:

TV spends were on par for Year One and Year Two of Finger Cooking support. In regards to online, spend was about 35% lower for Year Two. Sustaining spend/weight (long-term TV and long-term online) was the same for both Year One and Year Two.


TOD menu pricing was consistent with in-store pricing. Slight pricing increases took place across the chain between Year One and Year Two. Select menu items were repriced and varied by region year over year.  In addition, there was no discounting, meaning that customers were ordering at regular prices and not being driven by pricing incentives. Boston Pizza’s pricing and select offers were very similar to the competition’s, for example, 50% off second medium or large pizza.

Distribution Changes:

There were no distribution changes made at the time of the campaign. Each franchise operated under the same marketing plan and execution schematic. Geographic coverage remained national in scope, excluding Quebec.

Unusual Promotional Activity:


Other Potential Causes: