Citi wants to be known for its “hero moments” that offer cardmembers the inside track to entertainment, sports and culinary experiences. Through an alliance with Taste of the Nation, a series of culinary events cooked up by the charity Share Our Strength, Citi is dishing out more than tasty tidbits and delicious drinks to its card-carrying Private Pass holders.
As presenting sponsor of Taste of the Nation, Citi leverages social media to raise awareness of the non-profit organization that works to feed hungry school children. Thanks to social tagging at just one event held in New York City this April, Citi will fund more than 42,000 meals for children in need through Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry program. But it also manages to do itself a little good in the process.
“Culinary is obviously an enormous category for Citi. We have cardmembers who spend a lot in it,” says Jennifer Breithaupt, managing director-media, advertising and global entertainment at Citi, who was on hand for the event. “For us to align ourselves with not only Share Our Strength and do great things, but also with these celebrity chefs and great restaurants, to give our customers a reason to pull out their card, spend wherever they were going to be spending and have a donation made—that is tremendous for us.”
For sure, Taste of the Nation, a celebration of chefs, restaurants and mixologists that takes places in about 20 cities across the country, offers a mind-boggling array of culinary delights to satisfy the taste buds of Citi cardmembers. The New York event served up everything from salmon tartar and trout roe from Aquavit to 45-day dry aged burger bites from The Beatrice Inn. Guests downed martinis, margaritas, specialty coffees, even bottled spring waters.
Besides their cards, attendees also pulled out their phones and tablets to promote the event on social media using the hashtags @citi, #citigiving and #nokidhungry. Citi inspired them to do that by leveraging opportunities to share at key touch points of the experience. Here are three ways Citi did it:
1. The Citi Lounge
Along with comfy seating and cell phone charging, delicious Avion tequila “Tigritas” served up in pineapple vessels from mixologist Eamon Rocky of Betony, signage at the Citi lounge encouraged cardmembers to “Tweet While You Eat.” A 60-inch touch screen displayed information about Citi dining platforms and Share Our Strength. Brand ambassadors at a photo booth located inside the space also prompted attendees to share their photo to their social accounts, driving awareness of Citi’s sponsorship of Share our Strength in a fun and engaging way. Citi donated money and meals to the organization based on their social activity.
2. A Social Vending Machine
Attendees who posted to social media at the machine, located near Joanne Chang’s Flour Bakery chef station, received Citi culinary-inspired co-branded swag such as oven mitts, wine stoppers, wine pourers, sunglasses, aprons and USBs pre-loaded with recipes.
3. Ceiling Balloons
Platters of appetizers suspended from helium balloons whetted peoples’ appetites at check-in and tied in with a balloon activation outside the Citi Lounge upstairs. An eye-catching series of white balloons lining the ceiling outside the lounge turned blue as people plugged into their social accounts, providing a visual demonstration of the power of social and their donations. Agency: MAC Presents; Publicis, both in New York City.