Waffle House Belgian boycott earns restaurant media mentions

Waffle House launched a war on Belgian waffles on Monday in support of the US men's national soccer team. A number of major media outlets took notice, giving the brand an earned-media goal.

Photo credit: @WaffleHouse Twitter handle
Photo credit: @WaffleHouse Twitter handle

NORCROSS, GA: Waffle House launched a war on Belgian waffles on Monday in support of the US men’s national soccer team, which is preparing to face Belgium Tuesday afternoon in the World Cup’s round of 16. The restaurant chain earned a number of prominent media mentions by doing so.

The brand, which handles all social media and PR in-house and routinely interacts with fans digitally, did not formally plan the Belgian waffle tweet, said Kelly Thrasher, director of communications and PR manager at Waffle House.

"A lot of our social is just done organically," she explained. "We just like to have fun and interact with our fans and followers."

Since its initial tweet supporting the US squad, media outlets including Today.com, CBSSports.com, The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, ABCNews.com, and TMZ.com have covered the "boycott." TMZ was the first news outlet to reach out to the chain.

Waffle House has responded in real-time to fans on Twitter about the waffle ban.

On Monday, the predominantly Southern restaurant chain tweeted that it "doesn’t believe in Belgium waffles," later saying that its use of "Belgium" instead of "Belgian" was a "blonde moment."

The social effort, which has used the hashtag #IBelieveThatWeWillWin, kicked off on June 26 when Good Bull Hunting (@GBHunting), SB Nation’s Texas A&M student blog, asked Waffle House on Twitter what it thinks about Belgian waffles.

To keep up the buzz, the brand will continue to post photos of waffles and tweet throughout the game, said Meghan Irwin, social media manager at Waffle House, who handles all of the brand’s Twitter posts and responses. 

"We just want to keep the engagement going with our fans," she added. "Our biggest strategy and our biggest reason for being on social media is to continue the conversation once our customers leave the restaurant."

In the last two days, Irwin said the restaurant has definitely seen a jump in its Twitter followers.

The brand will continue leveraging the World Cup on its social accounts if the US beats Belgium on Tuesday, though Thrasher said Waffle House is "trying not to jinx" the match.

Brands get fired up for win-or-go-home Belgium match

Marketers of all kinds are showing their support for the US team on Twitter on Tuesday.

Budweiser, which has its roots in America but is produced by Belgian-Brazilian multinational company Anheuser-Busch InBev, has not been shy about rooting for the US men’s national team. The beer brand’s tweets have included its iconic Clydesdale horses and an American eagle.

Anheuser-Busch Companies, based in St. Louis, Missouri, is responsible for the production, importation, and distribution of several AB InBev products, including Budweiser, according to the company’s website.

Other brands and organizations taking advantage of World Cup fever include Verizon and Dick’s Sporting Goods, as well as fellow sports teams the New York Yankees and Pittsburgh Steelers.

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