As COVID-19 spread across the country and Americans were forced into their homes, the restaurant industry underwent a seismic shift. Many who traditionally relied on dine-in customers found themselves pivoting toward off-premise sales out of necessity - facing new challenges around safety in the process. Contactless delivery and curbside pickup quickly became standard, and content production ground to a halt among restaurant brands and their ad agencies.
Chick-fil-A, for example, switched to plain red on white copy-driven posts to maintain an active presence on social media; Taco Bell opted toward a full month hiatus before abandoning their famously-stylized sequences of three themed Instagram posts – and commercial breaks were quickly saturated with stock videos.
As a team, our main objective was to help launch Noodles’ new online ordering platform, with the goal of offsetting the crushing industry-wide blow following stay-at-home mandates. The challenge? Finding new, socially-distanced methods to produce sincere, original content which, amongst a sea of “in these unprecedented times” messaging, would better resonate with Noodles’ audience.
We were in alignment – if we could find creative ways to stay within social distancing parameters, we would produce original content to show just how Noodles delivers “normal”, when those small moments of comfort were exactly what our audience craved.
We transformed a now-empty agency into a socially-distanced studio, used Zoom to direct remote shoots with content creators and influencers as they recorded on phones from the safety of their homes. These bite-sized moments of “normal” resonated and kept our audience more engaged than ever.
But, Noodles most innovative and profitable video came later in the campaign when we asked ourselves, “what is the most ‘normal’ interaction our guests might experience with the brand in months to come?”
The answer was right in front of us, or rather, right in front of our house: a doorbell camera.
As the first fully remote brand “shoot” of its kind, we produced the campaign hero video, “Dancing Delivery”, using only a Ring Doorbell camera. With a single team member, we installed the actual Ring Doorbell, scouting the location to find a time of day where we could avoid the need of an on-set lighting crew. When the moment came, our dancing delivery talent got the call, and from a remote location, we captured take, after take, entirely via the Ring App.
Between shots, the creative team directed talent via the Ring app itself, and after nearly 20 “deliveries”, we had what we needed, and footage was exported directly from the Ring app for post-production.
While we were confident the video could successfully deliver a serving of “normalcy” for our audience, we had no idea it would end up being the single most impactful creative asset in getting Noodles’ new delivery platform off the ground.
The video sparked meaningful organic engagement with our fans while helping to acquire new ones. We quickly found however that it drove much more than just engagement. At the end of the campaign, ‘Dancing Delivery’ had garnered a Return on Ad Spend that was a whopping 759% higher than our target KPI. What’s more, our Cost per Acquisition blew our previous results out of the water, leading to a 735% improvement in CPA.
Restaurants, of course, measure success in sales, and on that account, ‘Dancing Delivery’ did not disappoint. Despite empty food aisles in grocery stores, and home pantries newly stocked with shelf-stable items, this video drove tens of thousands of online orders (see confidential data below) and helped Noodles establish a foothold in the delivery space.
Noodles has continued to leverage ‘Dancing Delivery’ in paid social, digital and OTT with positive results across the board, and we’ve continued to look for new ways to tap into our target’s mindset. As the global pandemic has extended past the 9-month mark and Americans try to adjust to the new reality, emotions continue to evolve. Through it all, Noodles has aimed to provide a sense of normalcy, both in customer’s newsfeeds and in their kitchens.