The perfect illustration of launching a business and generating pre-opening buzz—something every entrepreneur wants—is Utica’s own Ocean Blue Restaurant. In the Mohawk Valley (unless you’re living under a rock) you’ve seen or heard something about this unique bar and restaurant that just opened on the top floor of the newly renovated Landmarc building in downtown Utica. They’ve done everything right.

When the owners approached us to help with promotions to build excitement over more than a year leading up to launch, we were thrilled. Not only to be a part of this great brand, but we relished the challenge of generating gradually increasing interest over a long time—leading right up to the opening, then maintaining it afterward. Hey, we’re marketing and advertising nerds, we love this kinda thing!

Together we launched a campaign that reflected their personality: using a smart, dry wit; demonstrating pride in their high standards; engaging the public; and conveying enough to make people want more. From billboards to online ads, their earliest pieces were funny, intriguing, and hinting at what was on the way. As time passed and the structure became more defined, news was leaked to the press (who published stories on the progress), and more information was out. They then transitioned to more defined ads and social media posts, inviting people into the “inner circle” to share the details: philosophy, food, drinks, seating, decorating, features, hours, and more.

Next came the announcement of an opening; time to start accepting reservations. Ads reflected that, as did their regular social media posts, sharing progress on decorating details, furniture, the views, and even food purchases.

The plateau has arrived: they are now open! Throughout construction, their communications have always stayed personal, taking people inside the workings of the bar and restaurant, and making them feel a part of the entire experience. That’s why we, like most of Central New York, can’t wait to go.

Well done, Ocean Blue!