Lorél Marketing Group and Rita’s Franchise Company created a Facebook promotion that earned Rita’s more than 105,000 new fans in two weeks. In support of Rita’s new cobranded flavor, PEEPS Italian Ice, the PEEPS Fandemonium Facebook promotion, drove users to become Rita’s fans to participate in an enter-to-win contest and engage with social sharing tools.

The Facebook “PEEPS Fandemonium” promotion doubled Rita’s fan base, but also created buzz around the new ice flavor by giving fans the opportunity to express themselves through social sharing icons.

“Rita’s Italian Ice and PEEPS Marshmallow Candies are both beloved icons of spring,” says Lynn Hoban, vice president of marketing, Rita’s Franchise Company. “Pairing up with Just Born, parent company of the PEEPS Brand, was a natural extension of Rita’s core brand essence of happiness. In addition, we utilized the Facebook platform to give the classic marshmallow chick and bunny icons fun ‘PEEPS-o-nalities’ – from ‘Playful’ to ‘Sassy’ – that Facebook fans instantly embraced. That’s what social media is all about: giving fans a way to socialize around things they already love.”

Every day of the promotion, fans flocked to Rita’s Facebook fan page, to enter to win prizes and share PEEPS-o-nalities on their own Facebook pages. Rita’s gave away free ice for a year during every day of the promotion to one lucky fan, and for every 1,000 new fans acquired, Rita’s also awarded a “swag bag” full of coupons, plush Rita’s and PEEPS®toys, and other sweet treats.

In-store POP, e-mail campaigns, and radio executed by Lorél Marketing Group, advertising agency for Rita’s, helped create awareness and drive consumers to the contest. Rita’s saw a spike of more than 28,000 new fans in just one day, with more than 105,000 total new fans acquired during the two-week contest period. This rapid growth landed Rita’s at No. 17 on Inside Facebook’s top 20 growing fan pages for the week of March 29.

Now that Rita’s has already met its 2010 marketing goal of obtaining 210,000 Facebook fans, the focus is on continual engagement with the fan base. “We will continue to design innovative ways to dialogue and interact with the Rita’s guest,” says Katie Hooper, vice president of account services, Lorél Marketing Group.

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