There’s nothing like an ad campaign with a good pun to make consumers sit up and take notice.

And the Colorado Restaurant Association is hoping consumers won’t stop there. The association wants its new “Fork the Recession” campaign to make consumers sit up, take notice, and dine out.

Fork the Recession
“We are working aggressively to lead Colorado forward out of this recession and this fits into our strategy,” says Gov. Bill Ritter.

The association’s agency, Vladimir Jones, raised more than $150,000 in donated television, radio, print, online, and billboard media for the statewide public awareness campaign.

The “Fork the Recession” effort is not only meant to bring in diners, it’s meant to bring the state out of the recession.

“Restaurants comprise 14.7 percent of our total sales tax revenues—the largest contribution of any sector,” says Denver mayor John Hickenlooper. “Eating in a restaurant does more than just satisfy your hunger; it creates a huge multiplier effect that helps our local economy.”

Colorado restaurants contribute about $570 million in state and local taxes.

The campaign, which began in early April, will run through May and encourages restaurants to couple promotional deals with the public awareness effort.

“We hope that people will understand the value of restaurant meals to our economy and that they will dine out to stimulate the economy,” says Pete Meersman, president and CEO of the CRA.

Colorado is weathering the economic storm better than most states, though.

According the National Restaurant Association, Colorado will post the third highest sales growth in the nation, and restaurant sales will increase from $8.1 billion in 2008 to $8.4 billion in 2009.

“Half of all adults are restaurant patrons on any given day,” Meersman says. “Colorado restaurants will serve 2 million meals today, generating $23 million in sales—today.”

Although it’s too early to tell if the campaign has had any real economic impact, Meersman says CRA members, the press, politicians, and other business groups have all responded positively to the association’s effort.

–Blair Chancey

Finance, News