Relaunching a Brand: Chefs Sharp Video Concept and Production

Making a marque in the market

Sometimes an ecommerce product launch isn’t actually for a new line, but for existing products that haven’t caught the eye of site visitors yet. For Happy Chef, this was readily apparent with their Chefs Sharp knives, cases, tools, and accessories. Chefs Sharp had been a part of the foodservice supplier’s inventory for a few years, but hadn’t gained particular traction, due to equal parts unawareness of consumers and deprioritization of marketing.

Chefs Sharp deserved its time in the spotlight. The only problem was determining how best to get the product line into the minds of culinary professionals. Knives have the primal reminiscent appeal of both weaponry and technology, but they’re also fairly simple tools with no moving parts or fancy features.

We needed to communicate to chefs why they should care about this relatively new brand, with messaging aimed at immediate sales and long-term interest in Chefs Sharp as a product line.

Creating a campaign

After getting initial approval to move forward with a campaign, the focus of our project became video production. Unlike other media, video would allow Chefs Sharp to show off without relying too heavily on copy or design. Seeing the knives and tools in action would inherently demonstrate their sharpness, their beauty, and their versatility as professional tools that can withstand the kind of use/abuse they’d see in any restaurant or cafeteria. Of course, video alone would not be sufficient to effectively relaunch Chefs Sharp. The video would do a good job at appealing to the audience’s emotions and feelings about cutlery, but additional messaging would be required to hammer in selling points (high quality steel, complete sets), justify pricing (mid-range), and funnel customers towards products they’d like to buy.

Ultimately, we decided on a cross-media campaign that we could execute quickly, efficiently, and with maximum exposure to the professional, knife-buying populace. Banners on Happy Chef’s own site, as well as on those of foodservice publications, would drive traffic to a Chefs Sharp landing page. Publication newsletter placements and search engine marketing would also draw traffic to the landing page, which would feature detailed information about the tools and relevant links to individual products. Finally, social media impressions, both organic and paid, would be used to drive brand awareness and additional sales.

All of these advertisements and marketing communications would share gorgeous photographic visuals, elegant modern design, and confident copy underscored by the tagline Better prepared. These creative elements would work in tandem to emphasize the production quality of Chefs Sharp products and the value they’d bring to anyone working back of house.

Planning and filming

Before filming could begin, our creative team and marketing department met to decide which products would be featured in which media. After choosing knife sets and accessories and the prominence with which they’d be shown, our teams worked together to determine possible shoot locations. We needed a real commercial kitchen that chefs and managers could relate to, but it had to provide the right balance of space, lighting, and available staff to perform the shoot. We reached out to local businesses, settling on one where filming could progress smoothly. This meant we’d have plenty of time to capture the required footage, audio, and photography without greatly impacting the restaurant’s day-to-day operations.

In order to capture the frenetic energy of the kitchen, our creative team settled on a handheld, documentary-style shooting approach. This would keep our video crew requirements (and the related budget) lean, while also providing maximum flexibility for capturing every cut, slice, and dice without relying on dozens of takes. Nick, our Senior Interactive Art Director, would be behind the camera to capture all the action, as well as close-ups, product pans, and the chefs themselves.

With a rough storyboard of required shots and a carefully organized inventory of apparel and cutlery, we were well prepared for shooting. Members of the creative and marketing department were on hand to ensure every knife, case, and utensil got the love it deserved. Starting early in the day, we moved through the storyboard quickly, getting everything we needed by the lunchtime rush. Nick was then able to move forward with video editing, producing sample clips with music and basic effects for immediate review. With a few notes from the rest of creative and an okay from the client, editing reached the final, polished video commercial.

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Creative deliverables

The resulting video perfectly captured both the challenges of the commercial kitchen and the persuasive power of Chefs Sharp tools to overcome them. Each shot carries a purposeful weight to it, stringing together a stylish story of back of house operations. The knives themselves look fantastic and present well for every task pictured. Of course, there’s really no need to explain further; watch it for yourself (see embedded video above).

This 60-second spot ran both on-site and as a commercial on YouTube for retargeting and relevant searches, as indicated by marketing data. Users who were most likely to be interested in Happy Chef products (having visited the site recently) or who were actively looking for cutlery (by search keyword) were targeted exclusively. In addition to this full-minute spot, a shorter 15-second ad was created that could not be skipped in YouTube preroll.

As these videos were nearing completion, our designers, developers, and writers put together a bevy of other digital materials. The Chefs Sharp landing page (below: left) came together as a concerted effort among nearly everyone in the agency, featuring bold photography and meticulously fitted copy on a well-manicured page layout. The page itself would serve as a “more information” option to anyone browsing for cutlery, as well as a sales funnel for visitors arriving via marketing channels outside the site. Banners, newsletter ads, and e-mail blasts (below: right) thus followed, all capturing the same design aesthetic as the landing page with brief, compelling messaging to drive traffic and sales. Together, these elements formed a complete campaign that communicated the value and precision of the Chefs Sharp brand across a broad range of sales avenues.

Measuring the results

To say the Chefs Sharp campaign met its goals would be an understatement. Over the course of the initial Chefs Sharp rollout, both videos combined garnered over 100,000 views on YouTube, more than five times the response than the previous Happy Chef video campaign. The combination of trailers, banners, newsletter ads, and email communications also performed admirably. Since the start of the new Chefs Sharp campaign, Happy Chef received more than 3,500 additional visitors to cutlery related pages, an increase in traffic of nearly 130%. Those visitors generated a net increase of 12% in Chefs Sharp product sales over the previous period.

During the same time period, other social efforts were also a success: over 24,000 people interacted with Chefs Sharp related content on Facebook, and the Chefs Sharp page itself saw a 671% increase in page likes. Of course, these are preliminary numbers – our marketing efforts continue to push views, traffic, and sales through all of these channels, promising further awareness and sales for the Chefs Sharp brand.

This campaign illustrates the speed, efficiency, and results Ripen can achieve when aimed at any cross-media marketing/advertising campaign. If you’re looking for video production, digital advertising, or ecommerce marketing services, we’re confident we can produce similarly impressive results for you and your products.

Ripen Services:

Now that you know the creative process behind the Chefs Sharp relaunch, here’s a tip (cheesy, we know). At Ripen, we offer services including branding, engineering and marketing for an ecommerce company. Let us help your brand grow.


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