Marketing Inspiration: Café Catholica in Houston, TX

I’m a young adult. Let’s say I’m sitting in the pews before Mass, and an announcement is made: “Young adults ages 18 – 30 are invited to attend a dinner featuring speaker Joe Shmo about faith. This event is free, although you’ll have to drive across town for it, on a Monday night.”

Yeah. Right.

BUT WAIT! Fine-tune your marketing skills, and you can get hundreds – yes, HUNDREDS – of young adults to attend this sort of event. And they’ll come week after week.

That’s the case for Café Catholica, a weekly dinner series in Houston, Texas for young adults. The initiative began in June 1999 by the Office of Young Adult and Campus Ministry by the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston, and has been chugging along ever since. They’ve got a great volunteer team that pulls the event together, headed by Heroic Media‘s Michael Newhouse.

Promotional materials can truly make all the difference. Just take a look at their website:

How many young adults would want to come hear a Catholic cardinal speak? Now, ask that question again, but consider this graphic as the advertisement:

Café Catholica’s entire Summer 2012 season draws inspiration from mobile game apps popular with the events’ young adult audience. (Theme: Do You Hunger for More than Games?) Check out this “Words with Friends” spoof:

So smart. (So smart, in fact, that each event draws between 250 to 350 young adults. Yes, on a Monday evening in Houston! Have you been through Houston traffic??)

I highly commend this savvy group of young Texans, and the Archdiocesan Office, for their outstanding efforts. They prove that Catholic YA events can be successful on a budget. Find the right team. Know your target audience. Appeal to your audience – no excuses.

P.S. Get more inspiration from their 2011 promotional video.


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