Chicago Tribune Food & Dining

Chicago Tribune Food & Dining content and event marketing

A marketing campaign was created around the popular Chicago Tribune Readers' Choice Dining Awards to boost audience engagement with Chicago Tribune food and dining content online, in newsletters, and on social media channels. The initiative was divided into four phases and a multi-channel marketing campaign and central website hub was created to promote each set of featured content.

  • Phase 1: Promote the Food & Dining newsletter as a way to stay up to date on the upcoming awards.
  • Phase 2: Increase awareness about the Tribune's food critic and the release of his new list of top restaurants.
  • Phase 3: Encourage Readers' Choice voting.
  • Phase 4: Promote an exclusive awards event where local foodies can meet and try food from the Dining Awards winners.

For phases 2-4 of the campaign, I was the principal designer collaborating with the creative director on concept development and application of my designs to the website.

Phase 2 – Phil's 50 Release

This phase of the campaign promoted the release of Chicago Tribune's food critic's new list of top 50 Chicago restaurants, encouraged Food & Dining newsletter subscriptions, and prompted readers to utilize Phil's list as a guide to prepare to vote in the Readers' Choice Dining Awards. Promotion of Phil's 50 release was extremely successful. Within two days of release, Phil's list received 84,000 pageviews, up from the 14,000 the page had four weeks prior.

Phase 3 – Dining Awards Voting

This phase of the campaign encouraged readers to vote for their food favorites, which not only drove web traffic but also promoted their social channels. Utilizing a provided media kit, nominated chefs and restaurants tagged the Chicago Tribune or reposted Chicago Tribune posts to raise awareness of their nominations. Through the traditional multi-channel advertising campaign and 94 posts from nominated restaurants, more than a million people were reached and 30,000 votes were cast. Additionally, when the award winners were announced, the Chicago Tribune Dining Awards article page received 40,268 views in two days.

Phase 4 – Dining Awards Event

This phase of the campaign promoted an exclusive awards event where local foodies could meet and try taste bites from past and present Dining Awards nominees and winners. The event not only celebrated award winners, but also was an opportunity to connect attendees with brand content. Additionally, to increase social media engagement, attendees were encouraged to take pictures as well as use the event hashtag. The Dining Awards event was a successful vehicle for promoting Tribune Food & Dining content as there were 480 attendees, 75 social video shares and over 140k+ local food enthusiasts reached by influential attendees via social media.