How Cheetos and Chef Anne Burrell Blew our Mind
Cheetos recently took both New York City and social media by storm with its pop-up Cheetos restaurant, the Spotted Cheetah. This installation featured recipes that included the brand's signature product that were devised and cooked by chef Anne Burrell. Seats sold out almost instantly, and over 1,000 people had tried to get tickets.
It's rare that a pop-up restaurant will gain such a huge response, but this one went viral almost immediately. It gained a prime spot as a Twitter Moment and was all over other sites as well. Many pictures were shared in all possible ways, and it even gained some TV coverage. By all accounts, it was a huge success for the Cheetos brand and its parent company.
For attendees, the experience started by walking up an orange carpet to get in through orange doors. Inside, they found a large HD screen with a smooth-talking Chester Cheetah, who greeted each guest by name. Once beyond him, they were treated not to a carnival-like outlet, but instead, an upscale dining experience that happened to include plenty of Cheetos and Chester Cheetah-themed accents. Orange cheetah-fur printed tablecloths, orange fabric hung from the ceiling, and even bright orange paw-printed toilet paper ensured that nobody forgot that this restaurant was, above all else, about Cheetos. Of course, it also served dishes that all included the product in some form.
A bar was also present, and many went to it to start their meals off with orange slushies which were described by the bartender as being like margaritas. The drink, however, was "just sweet enough to remind imbibers that the restaurant was … a temple of junk food" according to Forbes.
Unique Factors Surrounding the Spotted Cheetah Event
There were a few unique factors that made this event such a huge hit. One is that instead of trying to drive new interest, Cheetos waited until several brand-inspired recipes had already gone viral. This showed the brand that there was significant interest in the idea of using Cheetos as an ingredient, and therefore, that it would be easy to turn that interest into attention to recipes devised, made, and presented by a professional chef.
Another unique factor is the already-massive footprint the Cheetos brand enjoys. Even those who hadn't thought of using Cheetos in recipes immediately became curious about the idea, simply because everyone who hasn't been living in a cave knows what a Cheeto is and can imagine its flavor.
Finally, the idea of using Cheetos in the setting of recipes found in this sort of restaurant is inherently worth talking about. This made it very easy for the experience to go viral, complete with pictures taken on the spot by attendees. Of course, the brand distributed many professionally-taken photographs as well so that media outlets could show the event at its best.
Applying This Information to Your Event
While most brands don't enjoy a multi-billion dollar marketing budget, they can use at least some of the lessons offered by the Spotted Cheetah in their own efforts. One is that it's a great idea to piggyback on an existing related trend in order to draw more interest to your marketing idea. Another is to present your brand in a related, but unexpected, way. Also, make sure your presentation is unique enough to get people to share it without begging for likes or retweets. If what you do is cool enough, everyone will be talking about it.
Finally, be sure to choose a great city and venue for your experiential marketing effort. For an event in Miami, consider Soho Studios. We have plenty of both indoor and outdoor space that can be configured to meet your exact needs.