The Menulog Baller Banquet wasn’t just about eating. It was about making food fun. The digital marketing campaign challenged audiences to feast their way to bigger and better banquets – earning millions of discounts and rewards in the process. With a bold art direction and gamification, the Menulog Baller Banquet digital marketing campaign injected a sense of anticipation and excitement into the food ordering process. Even better, it presented a gamified loyalty program capable of not only rewarding interaction but stimulating different kinds of customer behaviour.
Online food delivery is big business. In 2019, Australians were making over 68 million food orders each year. That translates to roughly 7,000 orders every hour, or a whopping $756 million market. And these trends are only set to grow over the coming years.
But when it comes to where we place those orders, the options are vast – and, at times, seemingly homogenous. In this crowded market, brands need to differentiate themselves; to offer customers something more than tap-pay-eat. That’s where the Menulog Baller Banquet comes in.
The Menulog Baller Banquet started with a simple enough request: create a fun, interesting way to engage customers through an online loyalty program. But we quickly realised this was an opportunity to move beyond what you’d usually expect from these types of digital marketing promotions – something that’s right up our alley.
The goal we set ourselves wasn’t just to reward customers for engaging with the brand, or even to bring new customers in. We wanted to incentivise different kinds of engagement through gamification. The goal was to give customers a reason to think of Menulog in situations they might not otherwise consider. And, of course, to have some fun in the process.
The Baller Banquet gamified loyalty program was designed in parallel with Menulog’s ongoing partnership with Snoop Dogg. In particular, we looked to a recently released TVC of the revamped Menulog jingle for inspiration. The commercial shows Snoop in a collection of unashamedly over-the-top scenes themed around food.
It was this idea – of real people in ridiculous situations – that became the base of our approach to the Menulog Baller Banquet. In our version, you become the hero of the scene. With each order, you’re able to level up your scene through gamification – from pizza with a friend in your living room to a lavish palace banquet fit for the biggest ballers in town.
We captured the vibe of the Snoop TVC in our website design through an art direction we have fondly titled ‘bling bling realism’. Blending real life and fantasy, we mixed photographic scenes and extravagant illustrations to portray a dream world somewhere between real and ridiculous. From the very first scene, we used exaggeration to ignite the imagination of our audiences, tempting them to unleash their inner baller and build the banquet of their dreams.
At its core, the Menulog Baller Banquet was about bringing fun and excitement to the food ordering experience. Beyond bold art direction, we did this through interactivity and gamification. Turning orders into challenges, we gave customers the chance to feast their way to bigger and better banquets.
The core mechanics of the digital marketing experience – where your orders define not only possible prizes but the very look and feel of the scene – all serve to immerse you, our audience, in the story. Drawing on tried-and-true conventions from mobile gaming, our challenge cards and prize boxes kept users excited about building their banquet as they order.
From ‘Order on the App’ to ‘Order Pizza’, it was up to you to choose which challenges to take on and how many points you would earn as a result. Each challenge was conceptualised as an opportunity to not just reward engagement, but to use gamification to drive new behaviour. For example, challenge cards such as ‘Order on Monday’ encourage customers to think of Menulog in situations they might not otherwise consider.
At the end of the day, Menulog is selling real food to real people. We needed a way to capture the exaggerated baller lifestyle without drifting too far away from the reality of receiving a tasty meal at the end. That’s where illustration came in. After putting together our photo-montage scenes, we used fun, doodle-inspired illustrations to breathe life and energy into the website design. Suddenly, an ordinary pizza slice was transformed into a gooey, stretchy, cheesy bite of deliciousness.
But exaggerated illustrations weren’t quite enough. After all, this was about the biggest party in town. The next logical step was adding motion to bring the static scenes of our gamified loyalty program to life. This did present some technical concerns at first – more motion means a heavier website design, both in terms of the burden on the device and the amount of data to be downloaded.
To minimise the costs of animating and get the party loaded quicker, we created our animations in After Effects and exported using the Lottie plugin. SVG animations allowed us to pack the site with bursts of motion through small vector files that are quick to download, more performant, and often better looking than the video equivalent.
You might think that adding illustrations and animations to our photo-montage scenes would be enough. But when our web development team got involved, we took the digital marketing campaign to a whole new level.
We were able to use WebGL to add dimension, depth, panning interactions to each scene. These interactions reinforced the user’s position as host as the party unfolds around them, while also making that party feel extra baller.
We created these 3D scenes through CSS 3D perspective and transforms. This approach leveraged the naturally 2D nature of the website design to create billboard style flat images that could be extended to full 3D objects. While this gave us considerable power, it would also usually mean that anyone using text-to-speech or reading mode would only see a single text description, without any of the interactive elements of the scene.
To get around this, we took advantage of native HTML and CSS implementation. This helped us foster a more accessible and usable approach throughout the gamified loyalty program. In the final website design, all scene objects are images with accompanying descriptions, and interactive objects are normal html links, making them discoverable with the keyboard for increased usability and accessibility.
Our goal with the Menulog Baller Banquet was to give the company an edge at a time when the food ordering market is increasingly crowded. Designed to be reused and repurposed in future digital marketing campaigns, our gamified loyalty program provides substantial engagement opportunities both now and into the future.
This wasn’t just an opportunity to increase engagement. It was a chance to actively connect with customers in a way that rewarded them for their ongoing support of the Menulog brand. It was a moment of collaboration between brand and consumer; a personalised digital marketing experience that both draws you in and makes you want more.