I think the reason I am so intrigued by Portland is because of the food scene that exists there. I have yet to have a bad meal in the city. Not only is the food great, but there is a significant variety of cuisines available to those looking for something different. I spent a month of last summer in Portland with my parents, who are planning on moving from the Bay Area to Portland in a year or so. While exploring all the city has to offer, we were introduced to food in farm to table sense. Plate & Pitchfork is a business that offers a meal celebrating the food grown in their backyard. Plate & Pitchfork dinners are available in the summer and consist of a farm tour, food and wine. The message behind Plate & Pitchfork is about support for local farms and local food and sustainable farming and business practices. The atmosphere sounds like it would be such a unique experience. All of the guests sitting together at a long table for a meal of delicious food that came directly from the farm they are dining on; it is so picturesque in my mind.

The farm to table idea is a strategic way to market food businesses. The Northwest is especially environmentally aware and therefore supports locally-driven ways of life. Plate & Pitchfork definitely has a message behind their branding and could successfully market that message through social media. I think a Plate & Pitchfork blog would be a postive addition to their public relations strategy. They are active on Twitter which is a great tool for online conversation. Plate & Pitchfork seems to be doing very well in these tough economic times. It appears on their website that all the dinners for the upcoming summer are sold out. Guess I have to plan way in advance to get a seat on the farm!

Advertisements

The New York Times ‘Health’ Section featured a story about fast-food restaurants featuring healthy menu additions. Apparently, Taco Bell has a new Fresco menu that they are advertising through their Drive-Thru Diet Menu campaign. Like Subway, Taco Bell is working to change the unhealthy reputation fast-food has made for itself. I appreciate the efforts, but come on, fast-food has a history of grease and calories that will forever surpass Fresco Menus and persuasive advertising campaigns.

Fast-Food Dieting

Subway has recently taken on some new promotional activity that raises some ethical uncertainty. New Subway Spokesperson, “The Biggest Loser” winner Shay Sorrells, has been offered $1,000 for every pound she loses until May.

Subway is using a public figure to promote their sandwiches as a dieting tool. In my mind, this is unethical because there are many factors that contribute to Shay Sorrells weight loss that are not revealed to Subway’s advertising audience. Due to Subway’s highly commercialized nature, they are part of the bandwagon that use pop culture as a promotion strategy. Instead of promoting their product (sandwiches), they are promoting a figure in pop culture. I know that advertising is tested with a significant amount scientific research that proves certain strategies to be successful, however, I am one to buy a product because the I want the product. In this specific case, Subway is telling consumers to buy Subway sandwiches because Biggest Loser winner, Shay Sorrells, is losing weight by eating them. Of course she is losing weight, Subway is giving her $1,000 to do exactly that!

Dear Subway,

If you give me $1,000 to lose weight, I’ll be the skinniest girl you know. But, since I have ethical values, I wouldn’t publicly promote your sandwiches in return. Do we still have a deal?

Your friend,

Liza


dine LA

25Jan10

I think my best friend Molly and I get along so well because we both love food. We never fail at enjoying a good meal. This past weekend, we conquered some delicious Eugene restaurants. In one of our many food comas, Molly shared some stories during one of her ‘dine LA’ adventures (apparently Molly is an annual attendee–lucky!!). The ‘dine LA’ idea sounded really cool; great food for a great deal..yes please! The dine LA restaurant weeks are from January 24-29 and January 31-Febuary 5. Over 200 restaurants are participating and the only way to make reservations is online. Each restaurant is priced based on a scale of $, $$, $$$, and all prices are set prices. Check out the website: dine LA

Dine LA Restaurant Week has social media written all over it. Apparently the only promotion for dine LA is  online; they reach their customers via their website, Twitter, Facebook, and E-mail. On their twitter they have daily gift card give-aways encouraging readers to  follow their twitter daily and stay up to date on daily promotions. Dine LA is great because it allows people the opportunity to eat in restaurants that they would normally not be able to afford. In addition, dine LA provides great PR opportunities for restaurants all over LA. For example, dine LA features Top Chef judge, Tom Colicchio’s restaurant Craft. Using celebrities for promotion benefits both parties: it’s great PR for Colicchio to see his restaurant participating in a community-like event and it’s great PR for dine LA because people love their celebrities. Dine LA features many restaurants known to be frequented by celebrities. One such restaurant is Shutters on the Beach, and Molly says she has seen Jennifer Aniston there (lucky!! I love her– I grew up watching Friends). Here’s a video about Shutters on the Beach.

Check out this article in the Daily Dish section of the LA Times about dine LA.

dine LA in the LA Times