Philadelphia cheesesteak is one of the city’s most famous contributions to American food culture (there are Philly cheesesteak restaurants as far away as California). With more than 90 years of history, the Philly cheesesteak has been honored with its own national day—National Cheesesteak Day, which landed on March 24 in 2019. VISIT PHILADELPHIA already has a solid reputation for the content it produces, among the best of any visitor organization. The video it produced to mark the day has won first place in the “Influencer Video” category of PR Daily’s Video & Visual Awards.
VISIT PHILADELPHIA has devoted some time to the city’s growing culinary reputation, but saw a bigger opportunity for the special day. The organization has frequently partnered with local celebrities, ranging from musicians to news media personalities. For this effort, though, the celebrity the media team had in mind was big and furry.
That would be Gritty, the googly-eyed mascot of the city’s NHL team, the Flyers. When the Flyers first introduced Gritty, the national reaction was bafflement and shaken heads. In response, Philadelphians embraced him, and his popularity grew; today, Gritty is one of the most recognized mascots in the country. The Flyers agreed to lend Gritty’s services to VISIT PHILADELPHIA.
The video was shot outside the Flyers’ home, the Wells Fargo Center, with Gritty selling cheesesteaks to Philadelphians. The first sale went as planned but took an amusing turn when a customer declined the offer. Gritty responded by pelting him and his car with cheesesteaks and chasing him away from the arena.
Gritty’s notoriety helped propel the video’s popularity, earning 280,000 views and 43,500 engagements on Facebook alone; the video was shared 2,444 times compared to the usual 182 shares VISIT PHILADELPHIA videos get. It earned 97,000 views on Twitter and 22,300 on Instagram. The video was also picked up by local news media, which drew viewers to VISITPHILLY.com’s cheesesteak page.
Congratulations to Laiza Montanez, Dana Schmidt and Rob Rabena.