Texas BBQ Rub is the creator of a variety of award-winning dry rubs and grilling spices as well as providers of BBQ cooking tools. Each February, the largest barbecue event in the world takes place – the World Championship Houston Rodeo BBQ Cook Off. The three-day event attracts more than 250 barbecue teams from across the country as well as tens of thousands of visitors and serves as the formal kickoff for the Houston Rodeo. Bill Cannon, president of Texas BBQ Rub, has been cooking BBQ for over 45 years and has competed in the Cook-Off for the last 29 years, and has been a finalist several times.

With so many experts in town, competition for customer and media attention is steep. As a business, Texas BBQ Rub sees product sales figures at their lowest in the colder months when customers aren’t yet cooking outside. GKC PR was contracted to boost sales and garner press coverage of Texas BBQ Rub during the Cook-Off.

After reviewing a customer survey, we found that ribs were at the top of everyone’s BBQ favorites. Media research also uncovered that the topic hadn’t been tackled recently. We created an article outlining eight steps to perfect baby back ribs from a competitive cooking BBQ expert that included Texas BBQ Rub products and showcased Bill’s long-standing BBQ expertise. To pique the curiosity of those who may not have BBQ on their mind, we created a 10 question BBQ quiz to test expertise that linked to the Texas BBQ Rub website. We also created a special coupon code for the campaign that expired one week later so that we could measure the success of the campaign. A series of newsletters were drafted that highlighted BBQ tips, the BBQ quiz, special discounts and messages about the upcoming Cook-Off. Social media content was also drafted to share on Facebook and Twitter.

Every facet of the campaign was embraced by the public and was a complete success:

  • Sales increased 48% in February and 52% in March (compared to Feb/Mar sales the year prior)
  • The coupon code was used 315 times
  • Six media placements were secured which included:
    • Great Day Houston – 8:31 segment on the city’s most well-known morning show. Nielsen data found that 39,888 viewers tuned in. The segment also placed online.
    • KPRC-TV NBC Houston – 4:02 segment discussing tips on cooking BBQ baby back ribs. Nielsen data found that 31,817 viewers tuned in. The segment also placed online.
    • KRIV-TV Fox Houston – 4:28 segment showing host Ruben Dominguez what it is like to be a competition cook for a day during the Cook Off. Nielsen data found that 61,779 viewers tuned in.
    • Houston Family Magazine – online article outlining Bill’s eight steps to perfect baby back ribs. The Texas BBQ Rub website and phone number was included at the bottom of the piece.
  • The above media placements garnered 324 press coverage shares on Facebook
  • The quiz (click here for quiz) was taken 3,614 times in February and March
  • Website traffic increased 73.6% during the campaign
  • The newsletter was opened 56,164 times and had 6,801 clicks
  • Facebook metrics (TX BBQ Rub’s most active social channel) found that the most active audience was men ages 35-44, the campaign’s target audience. During the campaign the page experienced a 234% increase in likes, an 801% increase in post engagement and a 3000% increase in total page actions.