When COVID-19 restrictions prohibiting on-site dining impacted small restaurants around Los Angeles, advertising agency Arcana Academy feared for its favorite lunch spot, a Japanese bistro run by master chef Michiyo “Michi” Wilson. So, the agency turned its talents to a pro bono engagement refreshing and rebranding of the popular eatery, “Fresh in the Box,” to help it persevere.
Additionally, the agency partners ordered lunch from Michi every day for over a year. “We love the food and have the utmost respect for the kind of community Michi creates. She’s exactly the kind of person you want to see succeed,” explains Arcana co-founder Lee Walters. “These closures have been especially hard on many small, family-owned businesses, so, early on, we vowed to do everything we could to help make sure Michi comes out on the other side even stronger.”
The rebrand included a new logo, food photography, menu, table toppers, signage, and even a new name, “Michi Japanese Kitchen.” Arcana sought to awaken customers to Michi’s heritage and create the ambiance of a traditional Japanese home, where the environment signals soulful, home-cooked food. That meant a menu with sumptuous photography in rich, dark frames.
“The rebrand takes the restaurant to another level I didn’t think possible,” said Michi. “We’ve had a renewed energy with existing customers and even new customers. Recently, I had new customers come in that have lived in the neighborhood for over 17 years and just now realized we’re here.“
“We’re all involved in maintaining community, and one of the greatest ways we can do that is to donate our abilities,” said Arcana co-founder Shane Hutton. “We wanted to give Michi a gift that will generate money, pride and recognition over the long term. A project like this makes the power of advertising personal, endearing and soul rewarding. It’s also a fine showcase of what we do.”
Advertising Agency: Arcana Academy
Executive Creative Director – Copy: Shane Hutton
Executive Creative Director – Design: Lee Walters
Sr. Graphic Designer – Jay Josue