The NCAA basketball tournament may be long past, but that doesn’t mean bracket-style competitions can’t drum up excitement.

Burger brand Mooyah Burgers, Fries & Shakes recently kicked off its “Mooyah Madness” contest, which pits each of the brand’s franchised locations against one another in a battle to win free food for its guests for one day. Fans vote for their favorite Mooyah location, with just one location emerging victorious from the competition.

Though a Facebook voting contest is certainly nothing novel, it’s the brand’s goals for the campaign that are a bit more unique. Mooyah naturally wants to drive sales and traffic to its brand’s units, but it also wants to create a following of loyal fans who want to hear from and engage with the brand, says Alexis Barnett Gillette, director of marketing.

Nick Powills, chief brand strategist at No Limit Agency, which helped Mooyah create the Facebook campaign, says the contest also aims to influence loyal fans to spread the Mooyah word to their friends and family.

“If I’m a fan of a page and that brand can communicate with me and get me to communicate with my friends, they’re going to access one degree of separation from me, their biggest validator,” he says.

Barnett Gillette says Mooyah wants to identify the key influencers within its fan base and leverage them to spread the brand message.

“In getting more votes [through the contest], folks may be reaching out to their networks, which may include people who have not heard of Mooyah before,” she says. “It’s about that organic growth and opportunity to just be really integrated within the community.”

In addition, “Mooyah Madness” will work to foster community excitement about their local Mooyah units, as well as help franchisees understand the power of social media.

“If we can unite franchisees on one common ground and unite the community, then we’re really driving sales through social,” Powills says.

The brand is also hoping to promote and educated its consumers about the new Under 600 Calories menu, which features existing Mooyah items paired in a calorie-friendly way. One meal, for example, includes a Turkey Iceburger with barbecue sauce, tomato, pickles, and onions, alongside a small order of sweet potato fries and a Coke Zero.

“We felt that by doing the battle, we could build buzz around the battle and educate the users of this amazing fundamental thing that says, ‘If you portion control then you can actually eat healthy,’” Powills says.

No Limit Agency has seen great success from similar campaigns in the past, Powills adds. A contest launched by Pita Pit late last year, for example, created $1 million in earned media, with more than 3,000 guests showing up on the free food day at the winning location, he says.

In the end, whether the brand wins 10,000 new fans and followers or just 100, Barnett Gillette says it’s the quality of the fans that counts.

“It’s about people who hear you, listen, and then turn it into a transaction,” she says.

By Mary Avant

Burgers, Growth, News, Mooyah