In 2008, Chicago restaurant chain Morton's TheSteakhouse decided to open it's first New York City location in Brooklyn. But the company needed to make a splash if it had any hope of breaking into a market dominated by the hometown favorite, Peter Luger's.
Because Peter Luger's had long been such a dominating presence in the New York City steak scene, Morton's needed to start by getting on the radar.
The campaign focused on the restaurant as a symbol of the growth and vitality of Downtown Brooklyn, and played up its positive impact on the neighborhood. Marino coordinated an elaborate ribbon-cutting celebration, arranging for public officials and business leaders to participate in the hopes of making it into a larger media event.
Additionally, Marino placed a primary emphasis on finding opportunities for Morton’s to use social media platforms to bolster its brand and elevate awareness.
Marino’s focus on social media paid huge dividends. Marino helped Morton’s The Steakhouse become part of the “greatest customer service story ever told”, when well-known social media guru Peter Shankman tweeted that he was craving a steak dinner while waiting at an airport for a delayed fight.
Seeing the tweet, Marino saw an opportunity and acted rapidly – upon Mr. Shankman’s arrival at his destination, a tuxedoed Morton’s employee was on hand to personally deliver him a steak dinner. Mr. Shankman blogged about the positive customer service experience, and his post was viewed by his more than one hundred thousand Twitter followers – many of whom are journalists – and was picked up in dozens of print and online outlets. Mr. Shankman’s tweet garnered additional attention when it was named by ABC News as “Tweet of the Year”.