Rentokil Initial, which serves both residential and commercial markets, was keen to find a new way to engage with potential customers while raising awareness of its expertise and heritage, as well as driving digital enquiries from people with a pest problem.
The solution, which was devised by Brands2Life, was to create a pop-up Pestaurant, tapping into the popularity of survival experts, such as Bear Grylls, and the I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here television series, and serving ingredients Rentokil Initial was best known for exterminating.
The first event, which took place in the City of London in August 2013, offered diners an array of exotic cuisine, including sweet chilli pigeon burgers, salt and vinegar crickets and chocolate-dipped ants. All insects were rich in protein, zinc, calcium and iron, and highlighted a recent report from the UN’s Food & Agricultural Organisation on the value of edible insects as a source of food for the world’s rapidly growing population. More than 3,000 people attended.
On 4 June 2014, Rentokil Initial brought the initiative overseas with its debut Global Pestaurant Day, which is also a registered trademark. Pop-up Pestaurants opened in 11 countries, including Lithuania, Australia and Trinidad.
This required Brands2Life to source large quantities of edible insects while dealing with strict legislation around import and sales, and identifying appropriate catering partners.
Template materials were created, drawing on what had been learned from the London pop-up, which explained every aspect of the campaign for Rentokil teams worldwide. A bespoke page on Google+ and information on the intranet also helped secure support and share best practice on event planning. Each country added its own twist.
In Turkey, bugs were served in ice cream. In South Africa, they created a wrap.
As many as 13,300 people visited the Pestaurants, and the event secured almost 1,300 print and online articles across 12 countries. There were also 32 TV broadcasts, 40 radio interviews and more than 5,200 mentions on Twitter.
But, more importantly, the events have raised brand awareness and increased sales. In the UK, sales increased by more than £1 million between 2013 and 2012, much of which is attributed to publicity around Pestaurant.
The judges described the event as ‘innovative, fun and witty’, while recognising it had achieved ‘a great coup for a challenging brand’.