Cheesy campaign a hit for restaurant marketing program

Front Burner Brands aimed to drive 25,000 new subscribers to The Melting Pot Restaurants' "Club Fondue" email marketing program.

Company: The Melting Pot Restaurants (Tampa, FL)
Campaign:  National Cheese Fondue Day Campaign
Duration: April 11, 2012
Budget: $10,000

For this year's National Cheese Fondue Day on April 11, a three-person team at restaurant management company Front Burner Brands aimed to drive 25,000 new subscribers to The Melting Pot Restaurants' “Club Fondue” email marketing program.

“Last year we did a general cheese fondue giveaway over four days,” explains Sandy D'Elosua, Front Burner Brands' national director of communications. “This year we wanted to thank our more than 2 million Club Fondue members by offering them free fondue April 9 to 12 and see if we could increase the database by 25,000 by offering free cheese fondue vouchers to people who signed up on April 11.”

Strategy
Advance outreach wasn't done given that new sign-ups had to occur on April 11.

“We wanted to see if it was possible to do a driver of that magnitude in one day,” D'Elosua explains.

Media and blogger relations, social media outreach, nationalcheesefondueday.com, and limited Facebook ads drove awareness.

Tactics
Owned site nationalcheesefondueday.com was the hub for sign-ups and information.

A national press release was posted at 5 a.m. EST on April 11. Facebook ads launched at 6 a.m., when the team began pitching traditional outlets (national consumer, food, lifestyle, and local dailies) and mommy, family, and food bloggers.

Social media outreach began at 7 a.m. Calls to sign up were posted to The Melting Pot's corporate Facebook and Twitter properties. About 140 restaurants were sent messaging for their individual social media properties.

About 15 funny videos of corporate chefs were posted to all social media properties.

MeltingPot.com and FondueFanatics.com, which links to all individual restaurants' social media pages, also carried campaign branding and information.

Results
The campaign yielded 25,000 new Club Fondue members in 13 hours. Total guest count and sales generated April 9 to 12 from existing Club Fondue members increased 18.17% and 17.91%, respectively, over the 2011 campaign.

Overall sales April 16 to June 14 increased 2.14% compared to the same period in 2011.

NationalCheeseFondueDay.com got 14,281 visits on April 11, and MeltingPot.com got 29,785 visits (daily average is about 18,000).

More than 630 stories ran in local market outlets, including The Maui News and ChicagoNow.

Corporate Facebook page likes surpassed 1,100 on April 11 (a one-day record), and more than 500 tweets were garnered.

Future
The team is leveraging buzz around Justin Bieber's song Boyfriend, which mentions fondue; promoting a partnership with an app called Food Spotting; and preparing for an August sweepstakes with Warner Brothers.

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