Tag Archives: promotions

chris likes spicy chicken

Chick-Fil-A is rolling out their new spicy chicken in a very smart way.

The chicken sandwich purveyors have been promoting a microsite, www.getspicychicken.com. The microsite allows you to find a local restaurant and then choose a reserved time to come in for a free sandwich this week (the official launch date of the new sandwich to the general public is next Monday, June 7)

After reserving your time, the site allows you to share and invite others to join you through email, Facebook, and Twitter. (I discovered the giveaway through one of the people I follow on Twitter)

And while microsites and social media sharing is pretty standard marketing fare, it’s the little things that made the difference.

The staggered reservation system is a smart idea to maintain pacing and supply to avoid a free chicken disaster like that “other” chicken place had. After making the reservation, I got an email “from” the actual manager of the Chick-fil-a location. While it was obviously an automated bot, it felt a little more personal. I also received reminder emails about my scheduled lunch time.

Stop there and it would be a good case study for a product introduction giveaway. But the actual experience of going to the restaurant was what really impressed me with Chick-fil-a.

UPDATE: The following may be unique only to this location. Apparently, this (smart) franchisee did some of this added stuff instead of it being corporate direction. Reports from other locations don’t match up. Caveat lector.
Spicy VIPWhen I walked in, there was an employee whose dedicated job was greeting and checking in the “Spicy VIPs”. (Remember, for all intents and purposes, Chick-fil-a is a counter service fast food place.) He seated me in a special cordoned-off section of the restaurant reserved for the spicy chicken folks. The tables in this area had been decorated and covered with tablecloths. Another employee came over and asked me what I wanted to drink and what toppings I wanted on the sandwich. The employee delivered the food on a plate (no cardboard boxes or paper wrappers) and then went after the napkins and condiments I needed. Managers were making rounds talking with the group and gathering feedback about the sandwich. At the end, I was asked to fill out a short survey about the sandwich.

When I consider some of the other restaurant openings / new product introductions I’ve been invited to, it’s easy to see the thought and care that was put into this launch. I have walked in other places where the employee behind the counter didn’t even know about a new product test. And if they did, it was slapped together and thrown on a tray.

You could actually see this being effective for this Chick-fil-a location as the “normal customers” kept looking over into our section to see what was going on and asking how they could get involved.

Spicy VIPThis is how you develop positive buzz and generate WOM. When you deliver an average product and experience to the early parts of the adoption curve, those users are not likely to talk about a typical encounter. But when you make it just slightly more interesting and make absolutely sure those people have a good experience, they’ll share it.

As I’ve said many times, the customer experience one of the most important (and overlooked) part of marketing.

btw — the spicy chicken sandwich is very good with a nice heat kick. It’s spicy without that bitter chemical heat that many places use for heat.

jared has lots of stamps

Read this consumer review of a Subway in Ohio.

Just as demanding as the Seinfeldian Soup Nazi, I’ve dealt with many Subway Nazi “sandwich artists”. And it’s always about the minor things like a drink refill, a few extra olives, or like the guy in the link — arguing the finer points of a free sub card.

A Subway franchisee will argue that giving a free sandwich that comes out of his pocket/profit to a customer that may have never been in his store is not good business.

I would argue that keeping core Subway customers who are willing to eat 6 (or 12) sandwiches happy and content is good business. And if all the franchisees were willing (or forced) to participate, the money would all equal out in the end.

But here’s the bigger point for everybody. If a marketing promotion makes you irritate your customers and generates negative brand images and kills goodwill — maybe you shouldn’t do the promotion.

Surreal Spring Break Marketing


When these kids get back from Spring Break and develop their pictures, will it still seem like an alcohol/drug induced surreal hallucination?

The only thing odder would have been for the Subservient Chicken to be in the photos as well.

Burger King’s Spring Break promotion has a website to document the oddness.

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Shoney’s gives you gas

Some marketing campaigns just don’t think things through.

Shoney’s has a new campaign for their “2 can dine” dinners. The spot is OK. It features a Confederate and Union soldier sitting down to eat…and obviously they don’t get along. The spot is interesting and funny if you pay attention, but you really have to pay attention to it (and repeat after me…consumers don’t pay attention). I saw it 3 or 4 times before I fully understood it. And I’m in the small minority of people who actually TRY to pay attention to advertising.

What kept me from biting on the spot was what seemed to be an afterthought in the spot. The viewers’ attention is fragmented by a “weather crawl” across the top of the frame that tells you to go to a website for a chance to win free gas for a year.

Free Gas…and the Civil War. They go together like peas and carrots. Grant went through Shiloh in a SUV.

I’m seeing alot of “free gas” promotions lately. These were cooked up in marketing meetings a few months ago in the post-Katrina/Rita days. However, here in late 2005, gas is relatively “cheap” compared to the summer…down almost a dollar. These gas promotions that were dreamed up a few months ago now don’t have the power they should. Never base promotions on what the current hot thing is…unless you have the speed to implement it quickly.

And here’s another marketing rule. Shoney’s, are you listening? Repeat after me…

Restaurants should NEVER give away gas.

Insert your own gastrointestinal joke here.

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