Whataburger shows off customer interviews

SAN ANTONIO: Fast-food company Whataburger will launch an integrated marketing campaign next week focused on consumer story-telling.

SAN ANTONIO: Fast-food company Whataburger will launch an integrated marketing campaign next week focused on consumer story-telling.

The company developed the effort to showcase the relationships that Whataburger has developed with customers over the last 61 years, said Pam Cox, the company's group director of communications.

To spotlight the stories, the chain filmed unscripted interviews with Whataburger fans and employees at select restaurants. Some of the documentary-style clips will be featured in TV commercials, and other in-depth interviews will be used for media outreach, said Cox. The company will pitch some interviews to media outlets and social media networks, she said.

“In this day in age, people are so busy and the world is almost too fast-paced,” Cox said, “so we want to take time to highlight the great local stories that we hear about everyday — stories about people slowing down and enjoying that sense of community and really illustrating that Whataburger is more than just a restaurant, but in many cases is an integral part of the lives our customers.”

SPM Communications, Whataburger's AOR for PR for a decade, is working with the company's internal communications and social media team of four staffers on outreach efforts before the campaign launch. The agency also attended all film shoots to meet Whataburger consumers face-to-face and “leverage them as hometown heroes,” said Cox.

“Whataburger is so unique in that our PR doesn't necessarily come from the corporate office,” she said. “Our PR comes from the communities and neighborhoods where we have our restaurants, and that is really going to be apparent in this new campaign.”

Whataburger will also expand its presence in Spanish-language media during the campaign. The company hired multicultural marketing agency FPO to reach Hispanic audiences, said Cox. The agency will distribute Spanish-language press releases and pitch Hispanic TV, radio, and print outlets to raise awareness about the brand.

Whataburger, which created its first Facebook page in April, will also incorporate social media into the initiative. The company has used Facebook for promotions in recent months, but not for a campaign, so Cox said Whataburger will use a “fans-first approach” on the digital channel, giving them a first look into upcoming restaurant news. Twitter and blogger outreach will be major components, as well.

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