Panera Bread heats up new sandwich with a food drive

Breads of the World, a franchisee of Panera Bread locations in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton, OH, tied the launch of Panera's new grilled breakfast sandwich into a campaign with a nonprofit organization.

Breads of the World, a franchisee of Panera Bread locations in Columbus, Cincinnati, and Dayton, OH, tied the launch of Panera's new grilled breakfast sandwich into a campaign with a nonprofit organization.

Customers would receive a free breakfast sandwich when they brought a non-perishable breakfast food item to the store, which was subsequently donated to local food banks. Bread of the World's AOR, RMD Advertising, was tasked to aid the effort.

Strategy
Customers had been asking for hot sandwiches for years, says Judy Ketner-Dollison, director of marketing at Breads of the World. So the company wanted to make the presence of the new sandwich known. “The strategy was just to create product awareness and encourage trial of the new sandwich,” she says, “and find a unique and PR-worthy way to get the word out.”

Tactics
RMD sent egg carton-shaped press kits to print, broadcast, and online reporters, inviting them to a media relations kick-off day August 8. “A lot of them eat breakfast at Panera, so it was a great way to get more additional buzz,” says Angela Vallera, account executive at RMD.

In-store signage alerted customers to the effort, and the media buzz from the first day brought in more customers up until August 17. The campaign also offered free product coupons to local large corporations and professional associations.

Results
In addition to media coverage in all markets, the effort collected 11,637 pounds of food to donate to the three food banks. “We got our product out there, got the sandwich in a lot of people's hands... and also were able to [collect] a lot of food,” Ketner-Dollison says.

Future
Breads of the World hosted another food drive in Cincinnati and Dayton around the holidays, Ketner-Dollison says. It also is planning another donation-based campaign around its coffees in early 2009.

PR team: Breads of the World/Panera Bread and RMD Advertising (both Columbus, OH)

Campaign: Introduction of Grilled Breakfast Sandwiches

Duration: August 8-17, 2008

Budget: $5,000

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