Dixie Builds Diners in Dead Zones to Help Friends and Families Reconnect

No more distracting smartphones

Headshot of Katie Richards

You might complain about your crappy cell service every now and then, but in 2016 it's pretty hard to find a dead zone. That means it's much easier for us to be glued to our smartphones all the time.

Dixie, a champion of putting down cell phones and enjoying quality time at the dinner table, knows it's not always easy to find these dead zones. So it set out, in partnership with Droga5, to find a few spots across Los Angeles with bad service. In each of those three locations the brand set up diners, called "Deadzone Diners," where reception was dreadful and diners couldn't escape talking to each other.

"Mealtime is a great time to catch up. It's really the only sacred face-to-face moment we still have with our family," Devon Hong, Droga5 creative director, said.

The diners are in some pretty unique locations including a remote hillside that serves breakfast, a cave with ice cream and an old federal reserve vault for dinner. When searching for these remote locations, Droga5 and Dixie took four cell phones, from four different carriers, and placed them on a clipboard. Using an app that measures connectivity levels, the team found the three locations with the worst service and constructed the diners there. 

While not everyone can visit the diners, although nearly 1,000 people did stop by over three days in August, Dixie hopes to inspire families across the country to rethink dead zones. "Rather than being something negative we want people to start looking at these spaces as a little sanctuary for you to spend quality time with other people," Hong said.

As part of the campaign Dixie also partnered with chef and TV personality Carla Hall to cook up some recipes for the different locations. Her recipes will also be featured on the Deadzone Diners website for families to recreate in their own dead zones, or just their kitchens.

One of the three Deadzone Diners is in a federal reserve vault in L.A. Dixie

Nearly 1,000 people visited the three diner locations over three days. Dixie

The Chew co-host Carla Hall made an appearance at one of the diners. She also created some recipes for the campaign as well. Dixie

The cave diner served delicious, cool ice cream treats. Dixie


Droga5 placed one of the Dixie diners inside a cave. Dixie

Over three days, nearly 1,000 people stopped by the different diners to enjoy a meal together. Dixie

The team placed warning signs for friends and families entering the dead zones. Dixie


        The final Deadzone Diner was held on a hillside with poor reception. Dixie


Agency: Droga5 NY

Creative Chairman: David Droga

Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer

Executive Creative Director: Neil Heyman

Creative Directors: Devon Hong, Tara Lawall, Jeff Scardino

Copywriter: Mietta McFarlane

Art Director: Luke Chard

Jr. Copywriter: Ted Meyer

Jr. Art Director: Tommaso Fontanella

Executive Design Director: Rob Trostle

Design Director: Rich Greco 

Senior Designer: Nate Moore

UX Designer: Brett Stiller

Design Intern: Ian Plath

Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale

Head of Interactive Production: Niklas Lindstrom

Executive Interactive Producer: Tasha Cronin

Senior Social Producer: Chris Parke

Social Producer: Gabrielle Nicoletti

Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer

Group Strategy Director: Elaine Purcell 

Strategist: Newman Granger    

Senior Communications Strategist: Delphine McKinley

Senior Data Strategist: Brad Mumbrue

Data Strategist: Remy Lupica

Executive Group Director: Brett Edgar

Account Director: Ross Gillis

Account Manager: Ashton Atlas

Associate Account Manager: Kyra Gembka

Project Managers: Nicole Spaeth, Michelle Yee

Client: Georgia-Pacific / Dixie  

Senior Director, Brand Center: Shari Neumann

Senior Brand Director: Andrew Noble

Senior Brand Manager: Gary Berger

Brand Building Leader: Teresa Bossong

Senior Associate Brand Manager: Nelie Zanca

Associate Brand Manager: Diana Black

Social Media Specialist: Brooke Lujano

Production Company: Snippies

Director: Roman Luck

DOP: Roman Luck

Executive Producer: Tom Dicerbo

Producer: Shelley Maclachlan

Editorial: Snippies

Editor: Tim Hickson  

Assistant Editor: Jake Birnbaum

Executive Producer: Tom Dicerbo

Producer: Shelley Maclachlan

Post Production: Snippies

Executive Producer: Tom Dicerbo

Producer: Shelley Maclachlan

Music: APM

(Song/composer/etc. to suit): Pretty Baby

Sound: Snippies

Mixer: Tim Hickson

Experiential Production Company: na collective

Executive Producer: Jim Striebich   

Producer: Nicolette Coan

Photographer: Name – Rich Fury

@ktjrichards katie.richards@adweek.com Katie Richards is a staff writer for Adweek.
Publish date: September 2, 2016 https://stage.adweek.com/brand-marketing/dixie-builds-diners-dead-zones-help-friends-and-families-reconnect-173256/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT