Leveraging Creative Brand VISUALS to LAND A TODAY SHOW SEGMENT
Noodles & Company serves classic noodle dishes inspired by flavors from around the world. It’s a national fast-casual chain that can struggle with brand recognition due to its limited footprint.
Food & Beverage
To drive awareness for its new zucchini noodles that were a first among fast-casual restaurants, Noodles was hungry for one of the biggest challenges in PR - national broadcast coverage – and they tasked Linhart PR with securing it.
Linhart PR set out to uncover and create visual brand assets and develop a story pitch that would generate TODAY Show – America’s #1 morning show - coverage to build Noodles brand recognition and awareness of the healthy new Zoodles menu item. The team ultimately booked a Noodles segment on TODAY, and the keys to success included:
1) Research: The team diligently culled through previous TODAY Show episodes to determine: 1) the best segment opportunity - “Wednesday Whaaat?!” – a weekly segment focused on wacky or funny news, 2) common themes for fun and branded content on-air - TODAY frequently covers Guinness World Record attempts on-air, 3) if the pitch should be food-focused or more quirky and 4) whether we needed a spokesperson or if it would fit into a round-up.
2) Timing: Zucchini noodles launched in May 2018, but it made more sense to hook a national TV team in August for National Zucchini Day on Aug. 8, 2018, to create a timely reason for them to cover it. In addition, Aug. 8, 2018, was a Wednesday, falling perfectly into place with a “Wednesday Whaaat?!” segment.
3) Partnerships and a visually-rich pitch: To get on TODAY, Linhart PR pitched a fun, visually-rich idea using the Noodles zucchini-noodle spiralizing bikes – called Zoodlers - for a Guinness record-breaking attempt. This led to an attempt to spiralize the most zucchini in one minute on a bicycle. Noodles partnered with Guinness in advance of pitching the show, allowing Linhart PR to deliver an already-packaged, fun, visual idea that included a Guinness World Record spokesperson to run and guide the segment. It worked. TODAY booked us!
4) Custom set design: No brand names or company logos were allowed on camera. To make the segment special, Noodles used “The Zoodler” name, zoodle-shaped graphic and Noodles’ green color to include on custom designed podiums to hold bowls of zucchini and the spin bikes. The goal was to make sure the segment had a Noodles “feel.”
5) Key messages: There was no guarantee TODAY would use additional key messages in the earned segment aside from mentioning Noodles had just launched zucchini noodles nationwide, but three succinct key messages were provided to producers to include on teleprompters to encourage Kathie Lee and Hoda to share more.
6) Milk it: No segment chatter was allowed in advance of the show. So, immediately after it aired, the team distributed a national press release to share details of the record attempt and the Noodles appearance on TODAY; a multitude of posts ran on the Noodles social channels; and we conducted media outreach to national online outlets and NBC affiliates in key Noodles markets to tease the upcoming segment and extend its reach and impact.
The TODAY Show Zoodles segment was extremely successful. The segment was so entertaining that TODAY re-aired it the next morning and clips are now featured in the show opening every day!