CASSIES Silver: Boston Pizza becomes a wing expert

Taxi’s creation of the Flatties & Drummies Association make wings the fastest selling item on the menu.

SILVER: Events, Seasonal and Short-Term

Situation Analysis: When you’re called Boston Pizza it’s understandable that wings might not be your signature item. But to be competitive in the world of sports bars, a reputation for great wings is a must. Knowing this, Boston Pizza set out to improve its wing product. The objective, for the April-May 2011 NHL playoff season, was to increase wing sales by 50%.

Strategy & Insight: A lot of the competition behaved like used car salesmen, yelling from the rooftop about their deals and promotions. Boston Pizza would take a different approach – one that added to the brand rather than eroded the margin. As for messaging, virtually every brand claimed to have won a truckload of trophies for their “world class” wings. But what were these wings being judged on? This question triggered the advertising idea.

Execution: The campaign ran from April to June 2011, with a heavy focus on NHL playoff hockey. TV introduced the one true (yet fictional) chicken wing authority in the form of Carl Carlson, president of the newly created Flatties & Drummies Association, a group dedicated to the appreciation of great wings. Carl waxed poetic about the Boston Pizza product, and this continued in-store and online, where “Flatties & Drummies” announced that Boston Pizza had won the coveted 2011 Crystal Wingy Award for Best New Wing.

Results: After only three weeks in market, the TV campaign had reached a 66% ad breakthrough rating. Wing sales were also well ahead of the 50% objective – so much so that wings became the fastest selling item on the menu, and Boston Pizza ran out of product.

Cause & Effect: In addition to immediate sales, success in social media was an interesting indicator of how effective the Flatties & Drummies campaign was. All online media drove to Facebook, where Boston Pizza’s national Facebook page garnered 14,649 new fans, an increase of 585% over the previous three months. As for spending, pricing and distribution, they were all in line with year-ago values, and although the product was definitely improved, it’s fair to say that this alone (without the advertising effort) would not have caused the results.


Boston Pizza International
EVP, marketing: Steve Silverstone
VP, marketing: Joanne Forrester
marketing manager, digital: Ryan Ashton

Taxi Toronto
ECD: Darren Clarke
Senior AD: Niall Kelly
AD: Gint Bruveris
senior writer: Jono Holmes
group account director: Edith Rosa
account manager: Emma Toth
planning director: Jeff Dack
producer: Alina Prussky

media agency: PHD
client service director: Zoryana Loboyko
group account director: Scott Henderson
senior digital media strategy: Barbara Glover
account manager: Stephany Sousa

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