Michelin Campaign Subtly Outs Reviewers for 2010 Guide

By Kiran Aditham 

While the highly regarded Michelin guide is noted for its veil of secrecy when it comes to its reviewers (or “inspectors”), the New York Times reports that the restaurant tome is running an ad campaign which lifts the veil somewhat.

As Michelin reveals that it’s handing out 18 new stars to restaurants this year, which is the culinary equivalent of receiving a gold medal, the usually tight-lipped organization is shining a dim light on its “famously anonymous” reviewers who will post items about their dining jaunts, advance critiques of chefs and complaints about service at @MichelinGuideNY and @MichelinGuideSF.

Michelin is working with Cliff Freeman & Partners on the campaign, which also includes print elements but is nevertheless intended to distinguish the brand from rival Zagat, especially here in New York. Ryan Lynch, senior brand strategist at Cliff Freeman, tells the NYT: “There’s kind of a ‘Da Vinci Code,’ a little James Bond feel, to who they are and how they go about working and your imagination tends to run wild with it. Knowing something about inspectors–from what standards Michelin sets for them to more specific details like where they have been eating–could be a nice piece of trivia for diners.”

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