I’ve started this blog post about five times. Every time I would sit down to type this out, I’d meet someone new, had another meeting or something else cool would happen. Last year I started a social media experiment (because you know, I just have nothing else to do!) and now it seems, my the whole campaign has taken on a life of its own.
Basically, it started like this: I had this thought one day, “Does the world really know about all these great hidden restaurants we have here in Orlando?” After much soul searching and meetings with a few friends, my thought process took me down the road to bring Anthony Bourdain and his show No Reservations to Orlando.
The first thing I did was to create my Facebook fan page and sent out emails to all my Facebook friends. A few fans trickled in when a friend posted it on her page and then posted in on a community site. A conversation began to take place about where to send Bourdain and his crew to eat and what makes our town that ‘unique’ place that Bourdain is always talking about.
Then it slowed to a crawl of new fans so I took to twitter. I have over 500 followers, I was bound to get a group of people who would join my campaign. I can honestly say that a few tweets and #noreservations hashtags does not a movement make.
But I didn’t stop …. If Facebook can start a revolution and get Betty White on SNL, then why can’t we get No Reservations to come to Orlando?
As we made more connections in the Orlando foodie community, the Facebook fans started to grow. Then the news broke – Bourdain had scheduled one last season for No Reservations on The Travel Channel. He was packing up his crew, his attitude and outlook on food and moving it to CNN.
We immediately shifted gears and re-worked our pitch. We figured now we’re talking to the folks at CNN too so we had to make sure they would see the value of taking Bourdain’s new show to Orlando. We found a contact on his production team and emailed her with our request to send in our ideas for an Orlando episode. Within an hour, the producer emailed us back with this note:
“We’re still quite a ways off from planning out locations for the CNN series — it’s still all very new, so pre-production likely will not commence until the early fall — but I’d be more than happy to pass on anything that you have to the series producer at that time.“
Holy crap! That led to about ten minutes of doing the ‘Elaine from Seinfeld’ dance around my office with the new official song for the Campaign, “Uh uh, uh uh, oh yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah!” (which is now a new requirement if you decide to do the Elaine dance in my office).
We had always hoped the Campaign Facebook fan page would be the catalyst to get us noticed but it seems the words I tell my clients about their marketing plans run true for our Campaign as well. I realized I needed a team of people to help me. We needed to develop a direction to reach our goals. Once we figured out our strategy, we started working on our pitch to include the best of the best in Orlando.
As we moved through this process, we realized we were not having a Kevin Costner moment. We had built it but they didn’t come – at least not until we started to send out our invitations to connect with our community.
The team we’ve pulled together includes our local food bloggers, some Orlando area restaurant owners and our latest contact, VP of Global Publicity of Visit Orlando. Our fans have reached out to us to help with restaurant ideas and other important ways to support our campaign. For this, we are so very grateful.
I don’t think I could have ever imagined that an idea developed over lunch with a few friends could have turned into this expanding grass roots effort from our community.
As I finally type this post out today, our Campaign invitations are continuing to go out. When I look at everything that has happened in the past few months and the people I have met, all I can say is this, “Get ready Orlando, it looks like our city needs to gear up for one hell of a Bourdain party!”