Kings Family Restaurants and WordWrite Communications approached the restaurant chain's 40th anniversary with a goal to celebrate Kings and raise its profile with a younger generation of diners.
The plan tapped into the region's interest in high school football by hosting a pie-eating contest for four local rival teams and pushing the message that Kings' 36 restaurants throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio are community-focused.
The pie-eating contest - apple pie and cinnamon ice cream are a signature dish at Kings - was planned as the main draw for the anniversary and held at the original Kings in North Versailles, PA, says Chris Whalen, VP of finance for Kings Family Restaurants.
The event was held the last week in September, during the high school football season, and was promoted to the families, friends, schools, and teammates of the players who participated. "It was a campaign to help drive traffic," says Paul Furiga, president of Wexford, PA-based WordWrite, Kings' AOR.
"An anniversary is difficult, because everyone has one," he adds. "We made it unique for Kings." For contest attendees, apple pie was available for the 1967 price of 45 cents.
And, when it came to media outreach, the PR team contacted both community and prep sports reporters at the local newspapers and TV stations, garnering coverage from the regional sports sections.
At least 125 people attended the event, and it received 3 million media impressions, all of which included mention of the 40th anniversary, Furiga says.
Kings plans to host similar contests in the future, Whalen says. WordWrite is currently working with the restaurant chain to promote the opening of a "new generation of restaurants."
PR team: Kings Family Restaurants (North Versailles, PA) and WordWrite Communications (Wexford, PA)
Campaign: Kings Family Restaurants 40th Anniversary
Duration: September 2007