Protecting an established, high-street restaurant brand from declining footfall leading with brand ahead of discounting.


Bella Italia needed to launch a campaign which could protect it against declining footfall, reignite brand awareness and drive bookings, despite a squeeze on consumer spending. The summer holidays had long been an important trading time for the business and it needed to ensure the summer of 2022 was a success. Our challenge was to build an emotional connection beyond food and price. 


We conducted quantitative research to validate the EARN IT. brand hypothesis “that consumers have a less clarity when choosing a pasta restaurant”. The research indicated a clear propositional opportunity and brand strength in being the “legends of pasta” amongst our target audience. This defined the lead campaign messages.

The research also identified a clear opportunity for the brand to reconnect with young families B1 – C1 and with kids up to the age of 16.

Strategy and approach

The strategy was to position Bella Italia as the legends of pasta, build relevance with target audiences and create communications that delivered more than discounts. The Good Aaaahh’s campaign kicked off a new playful tone of voice and identity, using everyday dilemmas to make Bella Italia the relatable, good value hero during the school holidays. It helped to shine a spotlight on key Bella Italia moments and products - in particular pasta - in a fresh, relatable way - Pastaaaahh, Pizzaaaaahh, Carbonaraaaahh!


The campaign targeted specific regions and a blend of underperforming and new sites. We created eight core campaign assets including five social ads, five outdoor creative variants, a 20 second radio ad and photography. These were deployed across regional radio stations, outdoor advertising, social advertising, influencers and in restaurant. We also ensured there was engagement from the teams on site, providing a marketing briefing and a full schedule of activity. Alongside this we also launched a new kid’s colouring sheet concept and a site vs site colouring competition to further drive online and social engagement.

Results & Learnings

  • Target sites declined 12% less than non-targeted sites
  • It achieved a total of 41.2m impressions (8 million more than forecasted)
  • 3.5 million impressions across both roadside and rail digital billboards
  • 30 second audio ads reached 2.6 million of our core target audience
  • 23 million display impressions delivered against a target of 7 million
  • 3.2 million programmatic video impressions and over 2.6m completed views
  • View through rate of 80.41%, double the industry benchmark of 40%
  • saw an uplift of over 88,000 website hits vs the 45 days preceding the campaign period
  • 7.3 million Facebook and Instagram impressions, an increase of 103%
  • Low fee influencer reach of 178,900 and excellent engagement at 39%

“Nexus delivered a significant campaign for Bella Italia which had material impact on protecting revenue, great bunch to work with too!”

Alan Morgan, Chief Executive Officer, Big Table Group


The Good Aaaahh's - Bella Italia

Making Bella Italia the "legend of pasta" to protect market share and build a futureproofed brand platform not dependent on discounting. The campaign celebrated Bella Italia’s core audiences and pasta dishes in a fresh, relatable way - Pastaaahh, Pizzaaaahh, Carbonaraaaahh!

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