Client: Harvester restaurants
PR Team: Haslimann Taylor
Campaign: 'The Great Pea Debate'
Timescale: April - June
Budget: Part of monthly retainer
Harvester has more than 150 restaurants but the brand has been seen as
out of touch with modern dining habits.
Bass Leisure Retail updated Harvester with a refurbishment programme and
more contemporary menu. Haslimann Taylor was asked to communicate this
To raise awareness of the 'new' Harvester and encourage visits; to
differentiate Harvester and position it as a market leader within urban
restaurants; and to communicate key messages: new menu; fresh food;
responsiveness to what guests want.
Strategy and Plan
It was decided to trigger national debate on peas. A press release was
issued, announcing that Harvester was considering the fate of peas at
its restaurants. The National Pea Hotline was set up for people to call
with their comments.
Peterborough was identified national pea hotspot, with more calls in
favour of keeping peas than anywhere else.
A Pea Tsar was appointed to investigate the pro-pea results of the
hotline and anecdotal anti-pea feeling in Harvester restaurants. Once
the Pea Tsar had reported her findings, it was announced that Harvester
would be 'saving' the great British pea.
Key spokespeople were made available for interview and pea-related
photography was commissioned was issued with pea facts and recipes.
Measurement and Evaluation
Broadcast coverage included Channel 5, Sky News, BBC Radio 5 Live and
local radio. Print coverage included most national dailies and various
regional papers. The Hotline received 2,000 calls with 92 per cent in
favour of retaining peas.
Key journalists learned about the new Harvester offer. The National Pea
Hotline generated a great response.
Many managers reported best-ever sales after the appointment of the Pea
Tsar. The Harvester in Peterborough recorded a 23 per cent week-on-week,
like-for-like sales increase.