Winners 2023

Best use of social media 2023

Bringing back an icon
Agency: One Fifty

No meal at the local Harvester restaurant was ever complete without a visit to the iconic ‘all you can eat’ salad bar, but the pandemic and Covid-compliant regulations led to its closure. But consumers were never really satisfied with the waiting staff served alternative, and, as the world returned to normal, they aired their dissatisfaction. Indeed, at various times, more than half of all social engagement with Harvester’s channels complained about the bar’s disappearance.

It was time to bring the salad bar back. But it couldn’t just arrive without fanfare – nor with just a single press release. Agency One Fifty decided on a social-first approach with three objectives: to encourage customers to share the news with family and friends; to create excitement about visiting the salad bar again; and to assuage any concerns of nervous diners fearful of a decline in safety or hygiene standards.

It started by building up anticipation. Working with The Sun, the newspaper carried two articles – separated by a week. The first suggested that Harvester was considering permanently ending the salad bar. The second announced a reprieve: the self-serve salad bar was coming back.

The news was picked up by local commercial radio and social media users, who shared stories about their love of the salad bar. One Fifty also used Harvester’s own social channels to announce the ‘change of heart’, and individually approached thousands of salad bar fans who had complained about its disappearance and demanded its return. They became some of its biggest advocates.

With the anticipation phase and the activation of customers, the algorithms started to recognize content on ‘salad bars’ and boosted the organic reach of Harvester’s social media activities.

One Fifty also activated 50 micro-influencers, who were family-focused with strong local appeal, who had heard about the iconic salad bar, even if they hadn’t actually previously visited a Harvester. They were gifted invitations over the summer to try it out. Their recommendations were viewed as key in driving bookings at specific sites.

The Bringing back an icon campaign generated more than 40,000 social engagements and in excess of 10,000 organic engagements on Harvester-owned content.

The judges loved this campaign, highlighting its understanding of the brand’s target audience which meant that local micro-influencers had a real part to play. ‘The clever timing and execution of news stories meant the agency were able to galvanise social media users to share their experiences – and make them feel part of change. Rather than simply hearing about the return of the salad bar, their customers felt part of its return,’ said the judges. ‘It shows the impact of creating a viral style story which gets people talking.’