DQ drafts NFL number 5 in successful lunch promo

American Dairy Queen and its AOR Pierson Grant partnered with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, whose jersey number is 5, to promote the launch of a $5 Buck Lunch Value Meal.

Client: American Dairy Queen (Minneapolis, MN)
Agency: Pierson Grant (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Campaign: $5 Buck Lunch Value Meal launch
Duration: April 2013
Budget: approximately $35,000

American Dairy Queen (DQ) and its AOR Pierson Grant partnered with Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco, whose jersey number is five, to promote the April 1 launch of a $5 Buck Lunch Value Meal.

"We were trying to get as much consumer exposure as possible and [emphasize that] we were the only chain to introduce a value meal that includes a free sundae," explains Dean Peters, AVP of communications at DQ.

Strategy
DQ wanted a creative, cost effective, and newsworthy idea. Peters notes that Flacco is a "famous number five," a Super Bowl MVP, and was the highest paid NFL player at the time.

"The campaign was also right before the NFL draft so it had local and national interest," Peters adds.

Flacco wanted to help the family of Maryland high school student Matthew Cheswick, who was killed by a drunk driver. DQ agreed to donate $25,000 to the Matthew J. Cheswick Memorial Fund, and Flacco agreed to promote the $5 Buck Lunch Value Meal in person at a Baltimore-area DQ location.

"Joe is a really down-to-earth, humble, nice guy, which is perfect for DQ," says agency CEO Maria Pierson. "Helping local communities is a priority for DQ, so it was a win / win."

Results of a national Harris Interactive survey about lunch habits also helped pique media interest. Social media outreach drove additional buzz.

Tactics
Survey results were pitched in the $5 Buck Lunch announcement targeting reporters and bloggers covering business, deals, and general consumer interest stories. The Flacco partnership was pitched to sports reporters and bloggers.

Flacco served the $5 Buck Lunch to restaurant guests on April 19. The Cheswick family was on hand and the donation was presented onsite. Key local and national media were alerted, but Pierson says Flacco's appearance wasn't widely promoted to avoid chaos in the restaurant.

DQ's social media team gave away $5 Buck Lunch gift cards to Twitter followers who mentioned they wanted to try it.

Results
"US sales for April were up more than 5% year over year due in great part to the $5 Buck Lunch promotion," Peters says.

DQ gained 273,917 Facebook likes and 13,500 Twitter followers in April. Posts about the $5 Buck Lunch got 970,000 Twitter impressions and more than 9,150,000 Facebook impressions. More than 1,400 stories ran in outlets including USA Today, ESPN, NFL Network, NBC Sports, CBS Sports, Nation's Restaurant News, and Baltimore Sun.

Nearly 100 gift cards were given away.

Future
Media outreach for the $5 Buck Lunch is ongoing. A back-to-school promotion around Orange Julius smoothies kicks off this month (August). The team is also promoting DQ's "Miracle Treat Day" on August 8 in which $1 or more for every Blizzard sold and every RSVP on the campaign Facebook page will benefit Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

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