New twist on pretzels appeals to teens

Pretzelmaker and AOR Ogilvy first launched a giveaway campaign on National Pretzel Day in 2008 to generate brand awareness and gain some ownership of the April 26 holiday.

Client: GFG Management / Pretzelmaker (Norcross, GA)
Agency: Ogilvy PR (Atlanta)
Campaign: National Pretzel Day 2011
Duration: March 1 – April 26, 2011
Budget: $77,000

Pretzelmaker and AOR Ogilvy first launched a giveaway campaign on National Pretzel Day in 2008 to generate brand awareness and gain some ownership of the April 26 holiday. The campaign has since become a traffic and sales driver.

“The program has expanded based on franchisee feedback,” explains Jenn Johnston, chief marketing and operations officer at GFG Management, parent company of Pretzelmaker. “It drives traffic, and a lot of first-time traffic, and it rings the register.”

Strategy
Carrying over from last year's campaign, customers were asked to sing part of a song to get their free pretzel at all US stores (about 300) on April 26. Those who didn't want to sing could just mention National Pretzel Day.

A partnership with VH1 Save the Music Foundation, which included a $30,000 donation from Pretzelmaker, was established.

“Over the last couple of years we've been positioning Pretzelmaker as a youthful brand, while not alienating our ‘stroller mom' customers,” Johnston explains. “The ‘Sing for Your Snack' theme adds a fun element. VH1 Save the Music Foundation, which is focused on saving music education, gives back to the teen/tween audience.”

Recording artist and former American Idol contestant Kimberly Caldwell was recruited for a national radio media tour (RMT). Additional media relations, social media outreach, and www.NationalPretzelDay.com also drove awareness.

Tactics
National and local market broadcast and print media outreach began in March. Food, mom, family and coupon bloggers were also targeted.

Caldwell conducted the RMT on April 26 and promoted the campaign on her Facebook and Twitter pages.

“Kimberly had an album coming out that week, and she's a big advocate of Save the Music,” notes Ogilvy SVP Steve Rice. “US stores are spread across the country, so the RMT allowed us to concentrate on the biggest markets.”

VH1savethemusic.com highlighted the campaign. The foundation also spread the word on its Facebook and Twitter properties.

The team promoted the giveaway and a “text to give” option for customers to donate to the foundation on NationalPretzelDay.com and on Pretzelmaker's Facebook and Twitter properties.

Results
Johnston reports average store sales were up 29% on April 26 compared to the same day last year.

The campaign garnered 297 million media impressions in outlets such as Today and USA Today, and more than 500 blog and forum posts, including CNN's Eatocracy and Time's money blog. The RMT resulted in more than 20 segments.

Future
A check presentation to Save the Music Foundation is scheduled this fall. Johnston says the team is considering various ways to expand next year's campaign.

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