FOOD AND DRINK CAMPAIGN: Vivat Bacchus offers a taste of the high life

Vivat Bacchus is a gourmet restaurant and wine bar owned by South Africans Gerrie Knoetze and Neleen Strauss.

Vivat Bacchus: offered diners £1,000 meal
Vivat Bacchus: offered diners £1,000 meal

Campaign: £1,000 Bonus Tasting Menu
Client: Vivat Bacchus
PR Team: Redleaf Communications
Timescale: January 2008-ongoing
Budget: Part of a £40,000 retainer

Sited in Farringdon Street, London, it houses a wider selection of cheeses than any other restaurant in London and the largest cellar of South African wines of any restaurant in Europe.

By December 2007, it had already hit the headlines after featuring grilled rattlesnake fillet on its a la carte menu.

Stunts involving a young graphic artist recreating a Banksy-style mural on its walls and the release of a £45,000 Christmas hamper had also gained it coverage beyond the restaurant press. For 2008, it wanted a new hook.

To increase the number of diners at the restaurant by 10 per cent and raise awareness of Vivat Bacchus among the nation's diners, the restaurant trade and the business community.

Strategy and plan
January and February is traditionally a time when many City traders receive hefty bonus payouts. But, with talk of an imminent market collapse, Vivat Bacchus wanted to create a story that would fly in the face of the pervading mood of doom and gloom.

Redleaf and Vivat Bacchus devised a £1,000-a-head tasting menu. Its launch was promoted by financial daily City AM and sold into the news pages of the nationals, major regionals, broadcast and international press.

Measurement and evaluation
The story made the front page and half of page five of The Financial Times, the majority of the other nationals, a full page three in the Evening Standard and gained coverage on BBC News 24 and Channel 4's Richard & Judy.

Redleaf broke the news in South Africa, where newspaper the Sunday Times ran a full-page feature about the restaurant's supplier wineries. Coverage also ran on CNN and Reuters.

As well as increasing bookings at the restaurant by 22 per cent, the menu captured the media's imagination. Amid predictions of financial collapse, Vivat Bacchus was reporting nothing but high spending and smiles.

Strauss quipped: 'I couldn't say that we saved the stock market from collapsing, but I like to think the menu brought a few smiles to the faces of the suits who were predicting an imminent crash.'

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