Industry News | February 3, 2011

Who Needs a $3M TV Spot When You Have Social Media?

While some companies will be shelling out as much as $3 million for a 30-second TV spot during Sunday’s Super Bowl, some quick-serve chains plan to ramp up their marketing efforts without even hardly opening their wallets.

Toppers Pizza and Philly Pretzel Factory are two concepts that will leverage social media for their marketing efforts on Super Bowl Sunday, a day for which advertising was once reserved only for billion-dollar brands.

Marty Ferrill, vice president of operations for Philadelphia-based Philly Pretzel Factory, says his company did not want to just take a back seat with its marketing on Super Bowl Sunday, despite the costly price tag the Big Game has traditionally commanded for advertising exposure.  

“Using the fans that we have that we already know are fanatical about us—they’ve joined our [Facebook] fan page or are following us on Twitter, or at least like the brand—we want to consistently remind them about us, especially on a day like Super Bowl Sunday,” Ferrill says.

Philly Pretzel Factory plans to engage with its social media followers throughout the Super Bowl, asking questions ranging from who will win the game to what the final score will be, Ferrill says. Correct answers, he says, will be rewarded with coupons for free pretzels.

“It’s a way for them to interact and have us be connected with the game, even though we’re not advertising during the big game,” he says.

At Toppers, any ignorance of the Super Bowl would be foolhardy—20 of the chain’s 28 franchised locations are located in the company’s state headquarters, Wisconsin, home of the Super Bowl hopeful Green Bay Packers.

But getting in front of football-hungry eyeballs in the traditional way would be too much for the small pizza chain to afford. So it’s turning to social media.

“We’ve been engaging our fans along with the Packers, and have run Packers messaging in our Facebook and Twitter feeds for the last month as they’ve been in the playoffs,” says Scott Iversen, director of marketing for Toppers. “It’s like we’ve built up in their minds that it’s game time, so it’s time to think about Toppers.”

Similar to Philly Pretzel Factory, Toppers will run game-related contests on its social media throughout the Super Bowl and reward winning participants with prizes. Iversen says success will be measured by the number of impressions, page views, and interactions the brand receives on its social media.

Despite the fact that there is no clearer way to determine ROI of social media, Ferrill and Iversen agree that such tools can be viable means for marketing efforts, even without big events like the Super Bowl driving participation.  

“It’s a place where we can talk one on one with the Toppers customers,” Iversen says. “We can invite them to engage in our brand, and they can tell us what they want from the brand, whether that be from a service standpoint or a product standpoint or even from an advertising standpoint.”

By Sam Oches

News and information presented in this release has not been corroborated by QSR, Food News Media, or Journalistic, Inc.