“It all starts with the bread”
It all starts with the bread – Liscio’s Bakery thinks so, and we tend to agree. Founded in 1994 by James Liscio, the bakery and its bread quickly rose to success. After joining forces with Chad Vilotti, the founder made plans for a larger factory and in 2004, the two moved into the 40,000 square foot Glassboro facility. Beyond this physical expansion, Liscio’s Bakery sought a way to get people talking about – and eating – their delicious bread. That’s where we came in.
Hoagies and cheesesteaks are a part of Philadelphia as much as The Liberty Bell or Rocky. Even so, until recently most consumers didn’t think about the bread with which their hoagie was made; how do you, as a marketer, forge a connection between a consumer and a brand essentially from scratch? A great product is the first step—Liscio’s Bakery certainly has that—but in a crowded marketplace, that simply isn’t enough anymore. A brand needs a strong, creative marketing campaign to set it apart from its competitors and create those relationships.
Liscio’s Bakery essentially had no online marketing presence until January 2010; social media was not part of their marketing strategy. Taking what we knew about Liscio’s products, their consumers and their interests, Hashtag Multimedia created an effective marketing campaign to promote Liscio’s products and the thousands of restaurants that use their bread for their own sandwiches.
Celebrity Endorsements = Earned Media
Companies seek celebrity endorsements for a lot of reasons: It lends visibility, credibility and legitimacy to their brand in the eyes of many consumers. It puts a face to the name, so to speak, and that’s the sort of recognition on which one can’t often put a price.
The Phillies are one of, if not the most popular sports team in Philadelphia; anyone who was in town for their 2008 run to the World Series knows that. We’ve worked with the Phillies to use their logo and marks on Liscio’s famous boxes—once gray, now white—and in all traditional advertising such as print and outdoor. First, we secured then-Phillies closer Ryan Madson for print and outdoor ads, and organized an event at the new Liscio’s retail location where fans could get their picture taken with the World Series trophy for a donation to Children’s Hospital. This generated a substantial amount of local media coverage for Liscio’s and has led to relationships with Wells Fargo Center and Villanova University, in addition to raising money for a worthy cause.
In 2011, Hashtag Multimedia secured then-Phillies outfielder Hunter Pence for an endorsement on behalf of Liscio’s. Pence lent his likeness to Liscio’s on all platforms, traditional and new. The result was immediate; Pence tweeted that he had just finished shooting a TV commercial upon exiting the studio and the next day he was discussing it on MLB Network’s Intentional Talk.
This gave Liscio’s a spike in recognition, including national press.
Pence also appeared at Liscio’s events around the Delaware Valley, garnering previously unheard of buzz and local news coverage:
Pence’s endorsement elevated and legitimized the Liscio’s brand in the eyes of consumers, and garnered the brand exposure previously unseen.
In conjunction with Pence’s involvement, we initiated an outreach program to the sandwich shops that carry Liscio’s bread all over the Delaware Valley through the Weekly Bites and Home Away From Home video series. Each video showcases a sandwich shop that uses Liscio’s bread, spotlighting their signature sandwich, telling their own history, showing their personality and expressing their affinity for Liscio’s products. It gives the shops and the Liscio’s product a spotlight, while also bringing new wholesale business to Liscio’s. Additionally, these videos create compelling content for Liscio’s Facebook page, which in turn brings new users to their page.
Finding customers to endorse Liscio’s fresh baked crusty product wasn’t difficult. At some of the best sub shops around Philadelphia, diners went on about the merits of Liscio’s bread. No scripts, no paid endorsers, just from-the-heart reviews from real people. The piece aired on Comcast Sportsnet during Philadelphia Eagles’ Post-Game Live.
Then, amidst preseason Phillies coverage, Philadelphia Magazine ran a cover story on Hunter Pence.This all set the table for Opening Day and the unveiling of the TV spot (which actually leaked quietly months earlier on MLB Network’s Intentional Talk show).
On April 7th, the commercial aired for the first time on Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia, alongside radio ads on 94WIP. Immediately, Twitter blew up with response. The next day, in its rundown of the home opener, Metro Philly said ”the Liscio’s Bakery ad featuring Hunter Pence, with his catchphrase, ‘Let’s Go Eat!’ is priceless, also a TV commercial that is equally hilarious.”
Phillies blog PhillyBurbs wrote, “Something tells me the guys in the clubhouse are going to have some fun with this. Might I suggest a kayak and a crate of delicious Liscio’s torpedo rolls waiting at Pence’s locker in time for his arrival Monday morning?”
And in the review that takes the cake, Philly Mag’s Dan McQuade declared, “This might be the greatest commercial in TV history. …How does he keep such a physique by lifting Liscio’s rolls?!”
As we try to do with all of our clients, Hashtag Multimedia brought a charitable aspect to Liscio’s marketing that wasn’t there before. Our relationship with Philabundance and their Summer Hunger Campaign yielded positive press for Liscio’s and more importantly, helped a lot of people.
Leveraging our relationship with the Phillies allowed us to use Pence in uniform on the billboard, at no cost. Philabundance was also one of the charities earmarked in Pence’s Food and Fun Fest.
The cornerstone of the campaign centers around social media. Utilizing Twitter to monitor reaction, Facebook to manage customer relations, and Tumblr to share unique brand-centered content alongside the WordPress blog on LisciosBakery.com, the Liscio’s Bakery brand is firmly cemented front-of-mind online, offline and out-of-home.
Hashtag cross-promoted the brand’s new identity on Facebook, YouTube and twitter. In January 2010 we began to put a focus on social media that hadn’t been there before; in August 2012 Liscio’s had 1,300 likes on Facebook and one year later, Liscio’s has nearly 9,700 Facebook likes, over 55,000 views on YouTube and over 700 twitter followers.
We’ve grown these numbers through a combination of interesting community engagement, like contests, photos and questions that encourage interaction, as well as paid advertising that targets users who are already fans of Liscio’s in the traditional sense. By targeting these people, we ensure strong conversion rates; they’re already aware of the Liscio’s brand, they just may not be connected on social media. Their like encourages their friends to like, too, which grows Liscio’s presence on Facebook at an exponential rate in a more organic way.
Take a look at some behind-the-scenes footage footage with Hunter Pence.