White Spot’s new target demo includes everyone

The casual dining chain coins the term "spotitarian" to reflect its efforts to be an approachable restaurant, regardless of dietary preference.

Family casual dining chain White Spot is trying to differentiate itself in a competitive space by positioning itself as an all-things-to-all-people brand.

The lead spot in the 91-year old BC-based restaurant’s “Spotitarian” campaign shows a woman about to introduce her new boyfriend to her demanding father in order to convince him that he’s a “spotitarian” – a term the brand invented to highlight its all-in, inclusive approach. The neologism includes, among others, “vegetarians, pescatarians, meatatarians, flexitarians, libertarians and humanitarians.” Ancillary campaign elements reiterate this inclusive theme, such as on billboards that say “All R Welcome.”

Cathy Tostenson, White Spot’s VP of sales and marketing, says that the food service space is facing challenges on all fronts. This includes everything from home meal replacements or meal kits at grocery stores, to third party delivery services and QSRs. That’s on top of a greater interest in different dietary preferences, around which its latest campaign is cheekily built.

The all-encompassing “Spotitarian” demo plays to the restaurant’s ethos as an “an exclusive club for everyone,” Tostenson jokes, pulling a line from one of its OOH ads.

“We’re trying to eliminate what we call ‘the veto vote,” she says, where one person with specific dietary preferences opts out of a restaurant visit.

BC’s Own” was launched in April 2018, a platform which was successful in terms of driving sales and traffic. The brand worked with 123w and media buyer DSA Media to evolve it and “further develop [its] fun and playful personality,” Tostenson says. The chain also injected brighter colours into its creative elements to elevate the look and feel.

White Spot is a beloved throughout the province of British Columbia and enjoys broad appeal, Tostenson says, but is looking to appeal to both existing White Spot loyalists and newcomers to the province (B.C. is experiencing 5% year over year population growth).

The integrated campaign elements include OOH, cinema, TV, digital and social, as well as an ethnic radio marketing component in four different languages.