Showcase: The World's 50 Best Restaurants media campaign pays dividends

The World's 50 Best Restaurants, the ranking scheme for the best eateries across the globe, saw a surge in coverage thanks to a targeted media campaign, aided by adept handling of a gender-based controversy.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants wanted to expand the amount of positive coverage - and the global spread of coverage - for its 16th annual awards ceremony, in Bilbao, Spain, in June 2018.

Relevance International, hired to handle PR, created media interest prior to the ceremony around the brand’s other initiatives. The Elit Vodka Best Female Chef Award launched in April with a targeted media lunch at the winner’s London restaurant (kept secret to build anticipation). It achieved 1,972 pieces of coverage, fuelled by controversy over the award’s merits; eluded to in an exclusive with Bloomberg. (Pictured below is the Best Female Chef winner Clare Smyth of Core in London’s Notting Hill)

Other pre-ceremony activities included a ‘meet the chefs’ speed dating-style media event; an official press conference; and several press moments with previously announced individual chef winners. On Relevance’s recommendation, a Female Advisory Board launched that saw seven top female chefs discuss industry issues and brand initiatives.

New for 2018, 21 broadcast stations were secured to attend and cover the main event.

The public could follow via a live TV stream, making it reportedly the world’s first televised restaurant awards ceremony. Reuters agreed an exclusive worldwide TV interview with the top ranked restaurant on the night. Other stations that covered it included RAI 1, France 2, BBC World and Channel 5 Asia.

More than 300 media attended the awards week, with 59,601 pieces of coverage over five months – up 24 per cent on the same period in 2017.

Coverage was in 51 languages (up 6.3 per cent on 2017) and 127 countries (up 9.5 per cent). In four key markets alone, there were 125 pieces of broadcast coverage over one week.

The number of social media posts featuring The World’s 50 Best increased from 33,797 to 53,717 over the corresponding period. Posts spiked during the live stream, aided by influencer-ambassadors at the ceremony.

(Pictured: The World's 50 Best Restaurants group editor William Drew with Massimo Bottura of top-ranked restaurant Osteria Francescana in Modena, Italy)

Overall, 99 percent of coverage was positive, despite the Best Female Chef controversy. Organisers said it had greater media exposure than ever in the brand’s history, and Relevance International subsequently became its first retained global agency of record.

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