Jack Astor’s selfie campaign leads summer strategy

Keeping customers on the patio, rain or shine

Jack Astor’s will see how big a draw the cottage lifestyle truly is this weekend. As the centerpiece of its summer marketing strategy, the restaurant chain will be sending the first four winners of its summer Ultimate Patio Experience contest (plus their guests) in the Greater Toronto Area on a pontoon plane to cottage country.

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The contest is centred in social media, asking Jack’s patrons to Tweet or Instagram a selfie of themselves on one of the chain’s patios in the GTA while mentioning the hashtag #JacksPatio and @Jack_Astors. It’s promoted mainly on its social channels, too — Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, as well as on Toronto radio station 102.1 the Edge.

Jack Astor’s worked with the creative agency Zulu Alpha Kilo to create the contest, which runs on select Saturdays throughout the summer. Winners will be flown from Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport to a lakeside patio in the Muskoka region by private pontoon plane.

“We wanted to make a big impact this summer,” says Jack Astor’s marketing manager, Somer Mullins. The multiple chances to win keeps the momentum going throughout the season.

The restaurant’s summer marketing game plan also includes a few inventive ploys to keep patrons on its patios. Those include its media partnership with the Weather Network, which sees Jack’s doing daily patio reports. Viewers in Ontario, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax will see branded segments filmed with one of the Weather Network’s hosts devoted to patio weather in those cities.

“It’s all about taking extreme measures to get people to our patios this summer,” says Mullins. “Knowing we came off a horrific winter, where else would people go but our patios?”

The campaign emphasizes in-store elements, too. Aside from the expected menu covers and restaurant signage, the chain is trying a few new approaches. In the condiment assortment on each Jack Astor’s table, ketchup and mustard bottles are now accompanied by a very inedible substance — sunscreen – to encourage patrons to spend as long as possible on the patio, says Mullins.

If it rains, patrons get to take $5 off each glass of sangria they order, and pints will come down in price to $5. They’ll also have access to branded ponchos and umbrellas, says Mullins.

The chain’s more localized efforts include partnering with EcoCabs, the people-powered line of three-wheeled transport buggies. Two branded EcoCabs will circle popular public spots around Toronto over the summer and encourage people to ride to a Jack’s restaurant.

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