If you have yet to plan any activities in the American Express delicious. Month Out (AEDMO) Sydney initiative you have already missed three days. The good news there are 28 left and still plenty of tickets and bookings left for over 200 food events.
Kerrie McCallum, editor-in-chief, of the News Corp Australia food brand delicious. told Mediaweek her team had been planning for the March activity for some time.
“We started talking to American Express and the City of Sydney about August 2019. We then had to move quite quickly as logistically it was bigger than anything we had to organise before. In the first year we have had a lot of learnings. We’d never engaged with retailers before so we were fortunate that we were able to get advice from the team at Vogue Australia who have done it event before with Fashions Night Out.
“We lent on a lot of people internally, but we got there. We have been able to attract small and large businesses – we wanted a large variety of operators to be able to participate – from a small café to a bar or a pub through to fine dining restaurants. We also went to the bigger groups like Solotel, Merivale and Rockpool – that was not just important to delicious. and News Corp Australia but also AMEX and the City of Sydney that we were able to get participation across the board. We wanted to make sure we could offer an array of price points and experiences.
“Sydney’s range of dining experiences are diverse, and we wanted delicious. Month Out to reflect that. Another thing that was important to the City of Sydney was that we offered free experiences for people too. That is the idea behind the pop-ups in each precinct on Thursdays from 4-7pm.”
McCallum said participating revenues did not have to pay to take part. “That was an important part of the initiative. We wanted to make it as easy as possible for people to participate and everyone was guaranteed editorial support at delicious.com.au. The more thought or effort put into an offer, the more compelling those offers are, the more successful they are likely to be. We put the challenge out to retailers and vendors that anyone could register, but they really needed to try and create something special.”
When the initial tickets went on sale it didn’t take long for some of the events to sell out quickly. One of the first to put up the House Full sign was Icebergs and its Full Moon Party with two courses and a glass of wine for just $40. “I even booked into that one myself,” admitted McCallum.
McCallum added on any major event there will be learnings from things that work better than others. “But overall the buzz is high.”
The delicious. Month Out could not have come at a better time for the sector. “They are really pleased,” agreed the editor. “Many people have had a difficult summer, dominated by the bushfire crisis. The suppliers to a lot of restaurants were impacted by fires and on top of that more recently there is a lot less travel because of fears of coronavirus.
“The sector is also fighting against a convenience culture – something that Colin Fassnidge labelled Deliver Flu. People are ordering in a lot. A lot of the city has also been impacted by the Light Rail construction and the lock out laws.
“With some of those challenges now behind us the City of Sydney was keen to support us to revitalise our key precincts and businesses.
“We have offers from 250 businesses in our first year which exceeded our goals.”
The delicious. Month Out partners have been extraordinary in helping the execution of delicious. Month Out. “They have contributed as much energy as we have,” said McCallum. “What American Express is offering to consumers and their customers is amazing. They have invested a lot on their own marketing support and they have built an AMEX house at each precinct offering members a free drink and a canape. If members then spend $60 they have a $20 rebate offer that can be used twice in the month.”
Having the City of Sydney on board was also critical in getting the necessary permits for precinct activity which even includes closing off some streets.
For News Corp’s delicious. brand this is both a marketing initiative and something that contributes to the bottom line. “We see this as an initiative can grow as a business for us. We also knew the industry needed the support, and it also helps us grow the brand and diversifying in a new space.” It also a nice value add for delicious. magazine subscribers and website visitors. Those magazine subscribers got first crack at tickets for some of the marquee events across March including the Friday night launch event.
Group marketing support has included a Daily Telegraph gloss wrap and delicious. on Sunday support – Sunday Telegraph editor Mick Carroll even managed to find a spot for McCallum on the front cover of Australia’s largest-selling newspaper. There is also a standalone vertical at delicious.com.au.
Top Photo: Kerrie McCallum at the launch of AEDMO with American Express’s Jee Moon and Naylsa Edwards