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Business Observer Friday, Jun. 7, 2019 1 year ago

Promoting iconic restaurant opening is all fun and games

To effectively open its Fort Myers location, Dave & Buster's needed to reach its target demographic in a big way. Priority Marketing used its influence — and influencers — to exceed expectations.
by: Andrew Warfield Lee-Collier Editor

Organization: Priority Marketing, Fort Myers

Founded in 1992 by Teri Hansen, Priority Marketing is a full-service marketing, advertising, public relations, social media and digital marketing firm that serves a diverse range of businesses, nonprofits, government agencies and individuals. It drives results with its trademarked “Creative Logic” approach to produce innovation and solutions for its clients. "As our clients’ strategic marketing partner, we listen, collaborate and understand their business and goals and then implement a creative and strategic marketing program that we continually monitor, measure and evaluate," says Teri Hansen, founder, president and creative director. 

Client: Dave & Busters. Dallas-based company is known for large venues that are part restaurant, part sports bar and part game arcade, with 128 locations nationwide. In May, the company opened a 40,000-square-foot location in the recently renovated Bell Tower Shops in Fort Myers, in a shuttered Saks Fifth Avenue. 

Task: Priority Marketing was engaged to leverage its 26 years of market experience and ties to major corporations, businesses, local media, community and social influencers, professional groups, civic associations, public officials, athletic leagues, colleges and charitable organizations to identify effective communications channels to Dave & Buster’s core audience — known as “play together young adults” (PTYA).

Priority Marketing leveraged social media influencers to reach Dave & Buster's target audience. Courtesy Priority Marketing

The demographics for the target audience are evenly divided between males and females, ages 21-34. Dave & Buster’s was aware, of course, that the desired demographic is not exactly prevalent in the region.

“That was the concern raised by Dave & Buster’s as well as some others they had spoken to when they first entered this market,” says Priority Marketing Director of Public Relations Holly Boldrin. “We felt as a team that we could leverage our connections including the social and professional networks, youth group networks and parenting networks.”

In addition to securing legacy media coverage, Priority Marketing engaged six local social media influencers in the target demographic by creating a social media influencer contest for a grand opening giveaway. The influencers’ combined reach is estimated at 103,281 followers.

Challenges: Given only a one-month lead time, Dave & Buster’s goal was to drive at least 1,000 attendees in the PTYA demographic group to attend its pre-opening VIP event. This required generating 1,500 RSVPs. Priority Marketing was responsible for providing the guest list, including local groups and organizations within the target demographic. 

Success was measured by the percentage of PTYAs who responded and attended the event. 

“We targeted local radio stations with those demographics, local alumni groups that may want to hold sporting events watch parties there, and larger employers in the region that employ the demographic,” says Boldrin. “We reached out to dozens of organizations, leveraged social media and reached out to dozens of organizations to build a list of contacts literally from scratch.”

Outcome: Priority Marketing exceeded expectations, generating some 1,630 reservations;  approximately 1,200 attendees the VIP event. Once the number of reservations reached 1,500, a wait list was created, which only added to the buzz,  

Attendance represented core demographic groups such as local adult sports leagues, young professional organizations, local alumni groups and large and prominent employers. Also, after opening, relationships were secured with more than a dozen key organizations that could hold corporate and social events there in the future. Says Boldrin: "Our goal was to help them become ingrained in the community, meet the right people and make the right contacts to be successful.”


Read all of the Business Observer's 2019 marketing issue articles: 

Marketing executives helped build brand behind innovative health care tech company

St. Pete firm rebrands iconic beer company's new line

Zoo roars into new era with name, logo change

Saddle up: Local bourbon brand has a story to tell

Cooking up sweet local success for national doughnut brand

New kind of senior residence blows into town

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