The Black Box Productions team recently found ourselves basking in the glow of an exciting win — the coveted WINA - World Independent Advertising Awards in the "Restaurants and Entertainment" category. The work that clinched it? The whimsical and laugh-out-loud 'Date Night' commercial for Milestones Restaurants. We’re excited to share the story of this unique campaign and how we crafted a piece of content that resonates with audiences and judges alike.
The Journey to the Winner's Podium
Our journey began when Foodtastic, the parent company of Milestones, trusted us with the task of creating a commercial to elevate their beloved dining brand. Our first campaign for Milestones was released in fall of 2022 and focused on promoting the new steak selections on the menu. But instead of focusing on the food or the specials, we let insights about couples who dine together inspire the creative.
The commercial aired on TV during major sporting events, capturing a wide audience. "Our collaboration with Black Box Productions yielded remarkable results," says Vlad Ciobanu, VP of Marketing at Foodtastic. "The creative storytelling in these commercials helped to elevate our brand and delivered a major boost to our revenue." It was an undeniable success, and played a part in boosting Milestones' 4th quarter revenue by an impressive 25% year over year. The ad was supported with a six-figure broadcast television ad spend. Additionally, it was viewed over 100k times on Facebook. But it wasn't just the numbers that brought satisfaction; the positive feedback from audiences was the icing on the cake.
Buoyed by the success of the first campaign, Foodtastic’s marketing department re-engaged us in 2023 to develop and produce four more TV commercials. We agreed that all of the spots would live in the same world and follow the relationship of this new couple. Everyone felt it was important to craft a memorable campaign that doesn’t rely on the hard sell, but instead offers viewers bite-sized entertainment.
'Date Night' is one spot in the series that features a relatable couple and their humor-filled interactions. "We've found that this approach, which focuses on telling engaging stories rather than pushing a product, really resonates with viewers," explains Josh Usheroff, a Black Box co-founder.
This particular commercial captures our charming duo embarking on a delightful date night at Milestones — with a humorous twist. We delve into the nuanced, often comedic aspects of dating life that strikes a chord with so many.
The Team Behind the Magic
The magic was brought to life by our talented team here at Black Box Productions. After Patricia Iacampo, Milestones Marketing Director, shared some initial concepts with us, DGC Director Rouzbeh Heydari, brilliantly developed the scripts and brought the concept to screen. Our co-founders Ben Goloff and Josh Usheroff worked with Rouzbeh to flesh out the concept and ensure that it aligned with Milestone’s brand and marketing strategy. We deliberately debated, and refined the elements of the commercial until it was something we fully believed in. We collaborated closely with the Foodtastic marketing team, ensuring we were aligned and confident that we had an entertaining and compelling ad series. This fruitful collaboration resulted in a campaign that truly breaks away from the norm.
These series of Milestones commercials were lensed by cinematographers Kevin Rasmussen and Alessandro Lanzillotta. The spots were filmed on an Alexa Mini using Cooke S4 lenses. It was vitally important to make the restaurant feel warm and inviting. We worked with a food stylist to ensure each dish in the spot looks mouthwateringly good.
"We've built our reputation on strategic thinking, craftsmanship, and adaptability," added Ben Goloff, co-founder of Black Box Productions. "This award is a testament to these core values and the dedication of our team."
Reflecting on our Triumph
Hearing we'd won the WINA World Independent Advertising Awards was a moment of pride. This recognition not only validates our efforts but also propels us to continue pushing the creative envelope. “It's a nod to our team's relentless pursuit of innovative storytelling. This award serves as a potent reminder that creative risks can lead to extraordinary outcomes. It's fuel for our future endeavors as we continue to push the boundaries of conventional advertising,” says Heydari.
Moving Forward with More Stories to Tell
This win is a testament to our belief in storytelling. As we look to the future, we’re motivated to keep pushing the boundaries of strategic and creative marketing, creating content that achieves business objectives and captivates audiences.
We're excited to continue our collaboration with Foodtastic's marketing team, delivering a total of 10 television commercials for their brands in 2023. We're producing commercials for a range of Foodtastic brands, from Milestones Restaurant to Shoeless Joe's, Enoteca Monza, and Souvlaki Bar. We're thrilled to expand our working relationship with Foodtastic and look forward to crafting more engaging stories.
Enjoy our award-winning 'Date Night' commercial and join us in a shared laugh. If you're looking to tell your brand’s story, connect with an audience, or simply make people smile, we're here, ready to bring your vision to life.