White Castle opens Valentine’s Day dinner reservations via OpenTable

White Castle partnered with OpenTable for its 27th annual Valentine’s Day dinner event, allowing diners to make reservations via the company’s website or app, a news released announced.

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Customers who attend the dinner, held on Feb. 14 from 4-9 p.m. at most White Castle locations, are encouraged to take photos and post them on social media using the hashtag #whitecastle. The brand is also creating a holiday-themed Snapchat geofilter.

White Castle’s Valentine’s Day dinners feature hostess seating, tableside service, decorations and a special menu. Customers are encouraged to book their tables early because tables tend to sell out, the company said.

Dive Insight:

Though the White Castle Valentine’s Day promotion has been going on for years, the brand is taking concrete steps to bring it into the digital age in 2018. By partnering with OpenTable, the burger chain could tap into a larger, more digitally-savvy audience since the booking service, which is part of The Priceline Group, seats more than 24 million diners each month at more than 43,000 restaurants, per the release.

Other fast-food brands have partnered with the company to promote special events and engage with mobile-minded customers. Taco Bell offered OpenTable reservations for its Test Kitchen and other promotions last year, including one around National Taco Day and the release of is Naked Egg Taco.

The Valentine’s Day dinner is a good fit for the social media-minded, with special themed decorations and a potential kitschy charm. Marketers are more often attempting to design out-of-home and event marketing in this way, where the experience itself encourages customers to create content that is shareable and will help spread reach and brand messaging even to those who can’t make it into store locations.

Other social elements of the White Castle campaign, including the location-based Snapchat filter, could help the brand connect with younger consumers. A recent StubHub survey found that 63% of Gen Zers send Snapchat messages during live events, compared to 40% of millennials.

from Marketing Dive: https://www.marketingdive.com/news/white-castle-opens-valentines-day-dinner-reservations-via-opentable/514879/

Pepsi reboots iconic Cindy Crawford spot with global ‘Generations’ campaign

Pepsi has unveiled its 2018 global creative campaign, “Pepsi Generations,” spanning the full Pepsi portfolio of Pepsi, Pepsi Zero Sugar and Diet Pepsi, and celebrating the brand’s 120-year history, a news release announced. The effort will kick-off in full for Super Bowl LII,

During the game, Pepsi will air a 30-second ad titled “This Is the Pepsi,” which presents a new spin on its iconic 1992 Super Bowl commercial featuring Cindy Crawford. Crawford returns for the new spot along with her son, Presley Gerber. Pepsi is also sponsoring the halftime show by Justin Timberlake and giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at PepsiHalftime.com, with the chance to live stream the show on social media through the hashtag #PepsiHalftimeLive.

As part of the campaign, Pepsi is bringing back its vintage packaging design for a limited time on regular products starting Jan. 29. Pepsi Stuff, the brand’s loyalty program first launched in 1996, will also return, offering the chance to earn points for purchases and redeem them for prizes. Pepsi Generations’s Live pop-up events will be held throughout the year, with the first one at Nicolette Island Pavilion in Minneapolis during Super Bowl weekend, featuring the country music duo Locash.

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Nostalgia is a powerful and compelling marketing tool — one that’s seeing renewed brand interest thanks to the popularity of ’80s and ’90s-themed shows like “Stranger Things.” Pepsi’s original ad with Crawford is highly memorable, and even ranks No. 8 on Time’s “25 Most Influential Super Bowl Ads of All Time.” By bringing back the campaign with a fresh look and with Crawford’s son, Pepsi is hoping to score with a new generation, namely millennials, which have been known to appreciate nostalgia even though most either weren’t born or were too young to remember the ’92 spot.

With a focus on what worked for the company in the past, Pepsi is also likely hoping to bounce back from a disastrous spot starring Kendall Jenner from last year. The brand pulled the ad after only one day following a public outcry on social media over its tone-deaf message about the power of Pepsi to ease tensions between police and protesters.

Pepsi Generations goes beyond merely nodding to its past Super Bowl push with the addition of retro packaging and the revamp of its loyalty program. It further takes a multichannel approach with in-store branding, purchase rewards, social media and out-of-home activations, rounding out the brand’s goal to “celebrate the best moments of our past, create new iconic moments for today and set the stage for an exciting future,” the release said.

Other brands are similarly returning to their roots to harken back to their golden days. During the 2017 holiday season, Toys R Us created a campaign spliced together from ads the retailer ran in the ’70s and ’80s, along with an updated version of its old jingle, “I Don’t Want to Grow Up.”

PepsiCo pits NFL legends in cooking challenge for Super Bowl push

PepsiCo brought back its “Game Day Grub Match” challenge ahead of the Super Bowl on Feb. 4. This year, the competition pitted three retired NFL players against each other to cook up game day dishes using only Pepsi ingredients and Buffalo Wild Wings sauce, according to a press release.

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Former New York Jet Nick Mangold beat out competitors Greg Jennings and Rashad Jennings to win the competition and get his creation — Cool Ranch Doritos-crusted wings with buffalo sauce and Sabra ranch tzatziki dip — on the Buffalo Wild Wings menu at Mall of America during Super Bowl weekend. Pepsi also donated $25,000 to Mangold’s choice of a local food bank through its Taste of the NFL’s Kick Hunger Challenge.

Fans can watch the three-episode competition, a collaboration between the brand and Vox Media and its in-house creative studio Vox Creative, at www.GameDayGrubMatch.com. PepsiCo is also incorporating a social sweepstakes into the campaign where fans can submit 60-second video clips through Jan. 15 describing why they should win a trip for two to Minneapolis for the game. The winner will be a “social correspondent” posting about their game-day experience on the Vox Media-owned SB Nation’s social channels.

Dive Insight:

PepsiCo’s Super Bowl marketing approach this year represents a healthy mix of what’s been proven to work in the past along with some fresh experiments. The returning “Game Day Grub Match” leans into the popularity of competitive cooking shows and taps recognizable NFL stars for a limited-run digital video series. Branded content such as this, when done well, can go viral on social media, and encouraging people to tune in and submit a video of their own for a ticket sweepstakes might bolster those chances.

PepsiCo, which coordinated the Vox partnership with Omnicom Media Group’s Content Collective and its own media agency OMD, joins other brands in putting a heavier emphasis on social and digital for its Super Bowl marketing as NFL TV ratings continue to decline. Super Bowl commercials are traditionally some of the most talked-about — and watched — of the year, but many businesses are focusing more on multichannel strategies that make a lasting impression before and after the game itself. For example, Avocados from Mexico and General Mills’ Old El Paso brand recently teamed up for an influencer outreach program called Guac Nation, which features avocado-centric recipes, in-store displays, coupons and social media content to increase engagement and sales.

Doritos, part of PepsiCo’s Frito-Lay division, is advertising during the Super Bowl this year after taking last year off. The chip brand had previously run a popular, decade-long Crash the Super Bowl competition drawing submissions from independent filmmakers but it’s currently unclear what the approach will be for 2018.

Avocados from Mexico and Old El Paso partner again for Super Bowl LII

Produce brand Avocados from Mexico and General Mills’ Old El Paso are partnering for the fourth time on promotions ahead of the Super Bowl. The two brands are executing the Guac Nation blogger program to feature avocado-based recipes, as well as dynamic in-store displays, coupons and content on social media to drive engagement and boost avocado sales, according to a press release.

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Guac Nation is a new blogger outreach program for food influencers to share recipes to reach their networks and position the brands as must-buy products on game-day grocery lists. The campaign runs from Jan. 3 to Feb. 4, which is Super Bowl Sunday.

The campaign is activated through ChannelSight, a platform designed to boost ecommerce, to allow customers to access recipes and add AFM and Old El Paso products to their virtual shopping carts for a seamless purchasing journey that aims to drive in-store purchases.

Dive Insight:

As more consumers cut the cord on cable, marketers hoping for a boost from Super Bowl-related marketing are looking beyond static, event-specific marketing campaigns to multi-channel digital strategies and influencer content to lure customers to brick-and-mortar stores and connect with their brand while they’re there.

While Super Bowl ads are traditionally some of the most talked-about marketing campaigns of the year thanks to their steep price tag and the game’s massive viewership, the brand buzz they generate doesn’t always correlate with actual sales increases. Avocados from Mexico, Skittles, T-Mobile and Bai had a significant increase in buzz after last year’s Super Bowl, but there were no major gains in purchase consideration, per data by YouGov BrandIndex in Ad Age.

from Marketing Dive: https://www.marketingdive.com/news/avocados-from-mexico-and-old-el-paso-partner-again-for-super-bowl-lii/514052/

Nissin Cup Noodles packaging unlocks exclusive video game content

Nissin Cup Noodles has partnered with Square Enix to promote the publishers’ upcoming video game “Dissidia Final Fantasy NT” with packaging that redeems codes for exclusive downloadable content, according to a press release.

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Ahead of “Dissidia Final Fantasy NT’s” Jan. 30 release on PlayStation 4, fans who purchase specially-marked packs of noodles featuring characters from the game can text a photo of their receipt to the phone number on the package to receive a unique game code. They can then download a Royal Raiment outfit for Prince Noctis, the protagonist of last year’s “Final Fantasy XV.” The limited-edition Cup Noodles will be available at stores nationwide, including Kroger, Walmart, Costco and Food Lion.

Nissin Cup Noodles and game developer Square Enix also collaborated last year, integrating the instant noodles into the storyline of “Final Fantasy XV.” The noodle dish was a favorite of one of the characters and players could go on a mission called “The Perfect Cup” to find and add ingredients to their meal.

Dive Insight:

Nissin’s ongoing collaboration with Square Enix gives the brand an opportunity to capitalize on Final Fantasy’s large global fan base. The long-running series has sold more than 135 million units worldwide, according to the release, pointing to the potential reach of a partnership that aims to deepen existing ties to the noodle brand. Nissin is leveraging mobile tactics to make access to the exclusive downloadable content more seamless for players of “Dissidia Final Fantasy NT.”

The games industry is generally becoming a more appealing target for marketers, as 65% of American households now have at least one member who plays video games, according to the Entertainment Software Association. More than 24.5 billion total games were sold in 2016, generating $30.4 billion through purchases of online subscriptions, downloadable content, mobile apps and social network games. Twenty-eight percent of 13- to 54-year-olds have purchased additional content for video games, research from the NPD Group found, and 77% of those said they like the option to pay to further their enjoyment of a given game.

Beyond packaged goods tie-ups, more marketers are looking to integrate their brands directly into video game narratives and world-building, as Nissan did for a quest in “Final Fantasy XV.” Coca-Cola, for example, last year introduced a virtual brand ambassador into the story mode of EA Sports’ “FIFA 18” soccer game. Buffalo Wild Wings also linked its Blazin’ Rewards loyalty program to the November release of “Call of Duty: WWII.” Customers could accumulate multiplayer experience points in the game by enrolling in the program, making purchases or checking in to one of the chain’s locations on social media.

from Marketing Dive: https://www.marketingdive.com/news/nissin-cup-noodles-packaging-unlocks-exclusive-video-game-content/514151/