Case Study

Maggiano's Lighter Take Menu Launch

An unexpected way to introduce an unexpected menu.


Project Details

Maggiano’s Lighter Take Menu accomplishes the impossible. It features the same fresh ingredients and portions as their classic pastas, but with only half the calories. They asked IMM to do the impossible too: launch the menu in a way that was authentic, engaging and convincing – without cutting into their existing business or their reputation for celebratory fare.

Project Summary

Changing preconceptions by removing them.

We took the idea of “showing instead of telling” to the extreme. In 12 days, we built what appeared to be a new, intimate, small-batch Italian restaurant in Wicker Park, Chicago. We hid cameras in the plants. We stashed mics in the chandeliers and under the tables. And we hired an actor for the role of “wunderkind Italian chef.”

We named our restaurant Venire a Luce, which means Come to Light. And we hosted 125 unsuspecting influencers at its grand opening. We secretly filmed their reactions to the food. And at the end of the night, we introduced the real geniuses behind the menu - Maggiano’s executive chefs. Just a few days later, we had everything we needed to tell the story of the Lighter Take menu.


We built, concepted, designed and launched, a site that served as a hub for the interactive campaign. Users could discover the history and innovations behind each dish complete with lots of sharable content. We rallied Maggiano’s loyalists with emails and social material.

We’d seen guests’ reactions to the new menu. But the results of our work surprised even us.

• “One of the top 50 ideas of ‘14” – Ad Club Denver

• Reservations up 327%

• Location click thru up 265%

• 20% trial of a new menu

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