Eater’s series First Person features individuals in the food and restaurant industry. On this episode, we featured Down North Pizza in Philadelphia, PA. The pizza spot aims to help erase employment barriers faced by formerly incarcerated individuals by exclusively employing them and providing individuals with culinary training. In addition to providing employment, they also help returning citizens with resources like reduced housing, legal representation, and transportation. This episode helps break down the stigma of formerly incarcerated by showing individuals in the workplace learning and loving their new found culinary training.
This documentary short is a perfect example of sharing a deeper social & political story through a food lens. The episode honors their new found culinary expertise and past incarceration experiences. It humanizes the formerly incarcerated and helps an audience who might have pre-judged individuals to see how they can succeed with the help of an excellent organization. Our ultimate goal was to break down the stigma behind the prison system, especially in the black community and showcase the impact of Down North Pizza’s business model of helping individuals re-enter the workforce with opportunities, housing, transportation and legal representation. Our overall strategy was to tell an authentic story while still honoring our brand’s voice in the food space.
We were able to distribute this video across youtube, eater.com and our OTT platforms as well as make several social cuts for instagram and tiktok. We have an audience of about 8.2M across our social platforms. Our hope was to be able to share this story and have our audience engage with it at a higher level as well as open our audience's mind to the effect of the prison system. On youtube, we gained over 1.6M views, 43K likes and over 2K comments. The engagement has been incredibly positive with the audience embracing their story, experience, and mission. Overall between our distribution strategy and the response from our audience, I think our impact was a success especially for a small pizza shop in Philadelphia, PA.