Case Study

Dishing Success: The Detroit Pizza Trail And Its Massive Media Impact

If you’re a pizza lover, then you’re probably familiar with the deep-dish, square, must-try pie called Detroit-style. And as the birthplace of this culinary gem and an already thriving foodie city, Visit Detroit seized the opportunity to craft a pass that celebrated the city's pizza prowess.
By 
Emilie Harris
June 14, 2024
#
 min read

Dishing Success: The Detroit Pizza Trail And Its Massive Media Impact

If you’re a pizza lover, then you’re probably familiar with the deep-dish, square, must-try pie called Detroit-style. And as the birthplace of this culinary gem and an already thriving foodie city, Visit Detroit seized the opportunity to craft a pass that celebrated the city's pizza prowess.

The Pass

Visit Detroit came to Bandwango with a concept centered around embracing what the city already does well – pizza. The pass featured a number of vendors, showcasing all the best pizza joints that Detroit has to offer. The pass allows users to check in at designated spots around town and earn points, earning them exclusive coupons and pizza-themed prizes.

It’s clear that the pass resonated with their audience. Amelia Ritter Seaman, Content Producer for Visit Detroit, said, “people love food! Visitors are curious about what makes something Detroit-style and they want to check it out. Locals are excited to have an excuse to visit their favorite pizza spot.”

It wasn't only a hit with pass users – through Visit Detroit’s marketing strategy, the pass saw such success that it attracted attention from local and national news outlets alike.

The Strategy

If there’s one aspect worth noting about Visit Detroit’s marketing strategy, it’s the importance of timing.

Visit Detroit strategically promoted the pass just ahead of National Pizza Day, leveraging social media to capitalize on the enthusiasm surrounding this fun holiday. This well-timed initiative drove local and national news coverage by multiple impressive earned media outlets, including the New York Post, Fox News, local publications, and industry outlets like Skift.

“Timing was also on our side with the launch of a local Michigan Public (formerly Michigan Public Radio) called Dough Dynasty. The podcast was a limited series that told the story of how Michigan became the pizza chain headquarters of the world, and how these chains shaped pizza as we know it today. We had the opportunity to sponsor this podcast and promote the Detroit Pizza Pass there.”

And promotion doesn't stop here. National Detroit-Style Pizza Day is coming up on June 23rd, and they plan to do an additional push for the pass then.

The Pass

Visit Detroit came to Bandwango with a concept centered around embracing what the city already does well – pizza. The pass featured a number of vendors, showcasing all the best pizza joints that Detroit has to offer. The pass allows users to check in at designated spots around town and earn points, earning them exclusive coupons and pizza-themed prizes.

It’s clear that the pass resonated with their audience. Amelia Ritter Seaman, Content Producer for Visit Detroit, said, “people love food! Visitors are curious about what makes something Detroit-style and they want to check it out. Locals are excited to have an excuse to visit their favorite pizza spot.”

It wasn't only a hit with pass users – through Visit Detroit’s marketing strategy, the pass saw such success that it attracted attention from local and national news outlets alike.

The Strategy

If there’s one aspect worth noting about Visit Detroit’s marketing strategy, it’s the importance of timing.

Visit Detroit strategically promoted the pass just ahead of National Pizza Day, leveraging social media to capitalize on the enthusiasm surrounding this fun holiday. This well-timed initiative drove local and national news coverage by multiple impressive earned media outlets, including the New York Post, Fox News, local publications, and industry outlets like Skift.

“Timing was also on our side with the launch of a local Michigan Public (formerly Michigan Public Radio) called Dough Dynasty. The podcast was a limited series that told the story of how Michigan became the pizza chain headquarters of the world, and how these chains shaped pizza as we know it today. We had the opportunity to sponsor this podcast and promote the Detroit Pizza Pass there.”

And promotion doesn't stop here. National Detroit-Style Pizza Day is coming up on June 23rd, and they plan to do an additional push for the pass then.

Impressive Results

New York Post article reach: 22 million
Fox News article reach: 51.5 million
Patch article reach: 12 million
Yahoo article reach: 8 million

The story was also shared on multiple other channels, leading to a total reach of over 100 million impressions – only from organic media. (And proof that you don’t always need to spend money on advertising for a successful campaign).

While the pass attracted a significant number of sign ups, Visit Detroit focused heavily on conversions, measuring success by the prizes claimed. By prioritizing high quality prizes and a seamless redemption process, they noted 300 redemptions in less than a year.

Future Plans

“I am thrilled with the outcome and how everything for this pass came together,” Amelia says. But while the pass was a hit, there are always ways to drive further success. Her future plans focus on marketing, potentially creating a new launch video featuring the merchants, hoping their involvement in the marketing process will bolster awareness even further.

The success of Visit Detroit and the Detroit Pizza Pass showcases the power of media, importance of strategic timing, and of course, the tangible results achievable when you have a passion for your pass.

Check out the Detroit Pizza Pass here!

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