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Summer Food Festivals Lean on Digital Marketing to Boost Expansion

New York-based food festivals want to attract millennials this summer. So, naturally, they are turning to social media.

This weekend, two New York festivals—Harlem EatUp and Brooklyn Flea’s Seaport Smorgasburg—are leaning on Instagram and Facebook to take over Manhattan.

Harlem EatUp marketer Herb Karlitz and notable New York chef Marcus Samuelsson—who runs eateries Red Rooster, Streetbird and Ginny’s Supper Club—want Harlem to have the same foodie reputation as Brooklyn has developed. And, they are off to a good start, having pulled in big-name sponsors like The New York Times, Time Inc., Citi and Coors Light while already picking up 6,000 followers and fans on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The four-day event, which kicked off yesterday, includes dinner parties and talks with well-known chefs like Bobby Flay, Ted Allen and Jacques Torres at Harlem restaurants including Sylvia’s, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Jin Ramen. Interestingly, Karlitz said that while young adults are into food festivals, it’s mainly because of the eats and not the celebrity chefs.

“Millennials are definitely going to food festivals and events where they find value,” Karlitz told Adweek. “They are more attuned than the generation before them in terms of really trying to take the best of what culture and lifestyle marketing offers. They get their information digitally, which is why we have big digital campaigns going on, particularly with our magazine partners.”

When it comes to his last point, the festival is running ads on NYT.com and Time Inc. digital properties. 

Social Expansion
Also this weekend, Brooklyn Flea’s Smorgasburg, which has become a summertime staple in Brooklyn, opens up a new Manhattan space at the South Street Seaport with eight restaurant vendors and a bar.

The team is also expanding this summer by setting up food stands in shipping containers on Brooklyn’s Coney Island boardwalk and serving ethnic dishes at a new location in Queens’ Long Island City. Additionally, Smorgasburg will be open in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Williamsburg’s East River State Park on weekends as it has been for the last few years.

To get the word out about each endeavor, marketing staffers are pinging the brand’s 186,000 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers. Social also gives the vendors a bit of free promotion, said Eric Demby, founder of Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg.

“It’s also a collaborative platform on some level where we almost act as a representative or an agent for hundreds of vendors,” he said.

Smorgasburg’s summer expansion is due in part to the market becoming a place where millennials not only go to sample new food but also take their parents, according to Demby.

“We mostly use our digital platforms to reach the under-40 audience, although a lot of parents are on Facebook, too,” he said.

Digital Food Trucks
Lastly, 20 food trucks—famous for their social media prowess—will serve up dishes at the second annual Chicago Food Truck Festival next month.

Each truck has its own marketing—sandwich joint The Fat Shallot boasts more than 9,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—but the event itself relies heavily on Facebook for marketing. Chicago Food Truck Fest counts roughly 3,880 Facebook fans and 1,000 Twitter followers.

“Using the same strategy, we drew 10,000 people last year—so if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” said Chicago Food Truck Festival rep Alex Blackshire.






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Summer Food Festivals Lean on Digital Marketing to Boost Expansion

New York-based food festivals want to attract millennials this summer. So, naturally, they are turning to social media.

This weekend, two New York festivals—Harlem EatUp and Brooklyn Flea’s Seaport Smorgasburg—are leaning on Instagram and Facebook to take over Manhattan.

Harlem EatUp marketer Herb Karlitz and notable New York chef Marcus Samuelsson—who runs eateries Red Rooster, Streetbird and Ginny’s Supper Club—want Harlem to have the same foodie reputation as Brooklyn has developed. And, they are off to a good start, having pulled in big-name sponsors like The New York Times, Time Inc., Citi and Coors Light while already picking up 6,000 followers and fans on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The four-day event, which kicked off yesterday, includes dinner parties and talks with well-known chefs like Bobby Flay, Ted Allen and Jacques Torres at Harlem restaurants including Sylvia’s, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and Jin Ramen. Interestingly, Karlitz said that while young adults are into food festivals, it’s mainly because of the eats and not the celebrity chefs.

“Millennials are definitely going to food festivals and events where they find value,” Karlitz told Adweek. “They are more attuned than the generation before them in terms of really trying to take the best of what culture and lifestyle marketing offers. They get their information digitally, which is why we have big digital campaigns going on, particularly with our magazine partners.”

When it comes to his last point, the festival is running ads on NYT.com and Time Inc. digital properties. 

Social Expansion
Also this weekend, Brooklyn Flea’s Smorgasburg, which has become a summertime staple in Brooklyn, opens up a new Manhattan space at the South Street Seaport with eight restaurant vendors and a bar.

The team is also expanding this summer by setting up food stands in shipping containers on Brooklyn’s Coney Island boardwalk and serving ethnic dishes at a new location in Queens’ Long Island City. Additionally, Smorgasburg will be open in Brooklyn Bridge Park and Williamsburg’s East River State Park on weekends as it has been for the last few years.

To get the word out about each endeavor, marketing staffers are pinging the brand’s 186,000 Facebook, Twitter and Instagram followers. Social also gives the vendors a bit of free promotion, said Eric Demby, founder of Brooklyn Flea and Smorgasburg.

“It’s also a collaborative platform on some level where we almost act as a representative or an agent for hundreds of vendors,” he said.

Smorgasburg’s summer expansion is due in part to the market becoming a place where millennials not only go to sample new food but also take their parents, according to Demby.

“We mostly use our digital platforms to reach the under-40 audience, although a lot of parents are on Facebook, too,” he said.

Digital Food Trucks
Lastly, 20 food trucks—famous for their social media prowess—will serve up dishes at the second annual Chicago Food Truck Festival next month.

Each truck has its own marketing—sandwich joint The Fat Shallot boasts more than 9,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram—but the event itself relies heavily on Facebook for marketing. Chicago Food Truck Fest counts roughly 3,880 Facebook fans and 1,000 Twitter followers.

“Using the same strategy, we drew 10,000 people last year—so if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it,” said Chicago Food Truck Festival rep Alex Blackshire.








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