East Of Grafton
What is a foodie? Like really though? We throw this term “foodie” around all willy-nilly without much context. Is it just someone who eats food a lot? Don’t we all eat food? Is it someone who turns up his or her nose at KD? But what about those restaurants that specialize in gourmet KD? Is it someone who takes poppin’ Instagram food shots? The term foodie is a pretty confusing so here is our interpretation -A foodie is anyone that enjoys eating. Period.
In 2016 you need to do a lot to get people to eat at your restaurant. You can’t just make delicious food anymore, although it is the key ingredient. Your holistic brand needs to be strong. That’s what this project was about.
Create a unique restaurant in Halifax. And, surprise, surprise – get people excited about it.
First we learned a lot about the dining industry and the eating habits of Haligonians. Before conducting our research we made some assumptions. Our assumptions proved more or less true –902’ers desired sophisticated comfort, a cultured extension of their homes, with unexpected details.
As we developed a name, the restaurant’s chefs were developing the menu. We called the restaurant “East of Grafton” and the menu centered around Canadian comfort food with a twist. That word, twist, really got our minds racing. By taking seemingly normal ingredients and mixing them in unique ways, the chefs at East of Grafton were acting as alchemists. Alchemy became the crux of the restaurant’s visual brand and tone. You probably conjure up images in your head when you imagine an alchemist. Someone (who probably looks like Isaac Newton) mixing ingredients in a dimly lit unfinished basement workshop, frantically sketching notes, and thumbing through heavily distressed textbooks. That’s the picture we got in our head, too. And that’s what the branding at East of Grafton looks and sounds like.
From there we got the word out the only way that seemed right – through a scavenger hunt. When Onyx (the former restaurant that East of Grafton replaced) was gutted we came across a fictional chest. It was an unsolved map that contained clues. Some of the winners claimed they spent at least two hours trying to decipher the code that unlocked the safe placed in a mysterious wall at the restaurants construction facade. Our web cam’s live feed captured many attempts (including a few failed ones).
In a day and age where getting people to double tap a screen is like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, having people spend over two hours actively engaging with something is like sending someone to Mars… and back. 5 people successfully completed the scavenger hunt. That number doesn’t with include countless people who were unsuccessful in cracking the safe.
If your brand needs a kick in the teeth, you want to get weird with it and make obscure billboards and you need a campaign that gets people out from behind their screens and into the real world, then we’re your guys (and girls). Send us a fax, we just hooked up the landline.
It was chaotic and sporadic. It was like a jumbled speech bubble when a cartoon character hits their head with a mallet. So we ran with it.