London: OgilvyOne UK has created a campaign for Dishoom, a newly-opened restaurant in East London inspired by the old Irani Cafés of Bombay. The campaign aims to bring their rich cultural tradition to London and attract the local Shoreditch community to dine there.
Dishoom pays loving homage to the Irani cafés that were once part of the fabric of life in Bombay. Opened early last century by Persian immigrants, there were almost four hundred of these cafés at their peak in the 1960s. Now fewer than thirty remain.
These cafés were frequented by people from all walks of life: rich businessmen, courting couples, poor students and sweaty taxi-wallahs. They were perhaps the only places in the city where people from any caste or class would have an inexpensive snack or a hearty meal, or just seek cool refuge from the street with a glass of chai. However, as the city rushes towards modernity, these beautiful old cafés continue to disappear, mourned by Bombayites as they fade into memory.
OgilvyOne’s creative idea was anchored in the idea of sharing. In the old Bombay cafés, food and stories were shared around the table. OgilvyOne painstakingly harvested the stories from the older generation in Bombay and the UK, from spoken recounts and by scouring the Internet. Of these, 80 stories were chosen, then beautifully designed and baked onto plates to be used in the restaurant itself.
Emma DeLaFosse, Executive Creative Director, OgilvyOne UK commented: “We wanted to capture the spoken history of the old Bombay cafes and share them with a new generation at Dishoom. Rather than using Twitter or Facebook, it seemed more fitting to use real plates, as the sharing of plates of food is an inherent part of the culture of these cafes.”
Shamil Thakrar, co-founder, Dishoom commented: “We love sharing stories at Dishoom –especially through design. What we most enjoyed about this idea is the way it literally bakes these unique and personal stories into Dishoom. It makes them into something that every guest can experience for themselves and encourages them to share stories of their own. In this way, the memories will live on.”
To keep the tradition of storytelling alive, customers to this new Bombay café are invited to submit their own stories and memories via http://platewallah.dishoom.com/gallery.html.
The best will be chosen and baked onto plates, ready for Dishoom restaurant goers to read and share, keeping the tradition of storytelling alive long after the Irani Cafes have all but disappeared.