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In the last six months, we’ve seen many established food brands give away food using social media marketing. Using this medium, many companies have transitioned to online marketing and successfully received online and traditional press. In addition to press, many bloggers and fans of Twitter and Facebook have shared their brand preferences effectively endorsing these products.

A few examples include:

  • Burger King – Whopper Sacrifice Facebook App. For Burger King, it was the Whopper Sacrifice Facebook app generating 83,000 installs and 23,000 free whoppers to customers who likely purchased fries and a drink with that. A website, Facebook app, and a few emails, tweets and text messages is all it took. You can read more from the blogosphere about the Whopper Sacrifice.
  • Denny’s – Free Grand Slam Breakfast. For Denny’s it was a coveted multi-million dollar Superbowl ad that got the word out. All costs were reportedly recovered the day of the promotion.
  • IHOP – Free Shortstack of Pankcakes. IHOP gives away free shortstacks each year. Did you know this? Me neither. Imagine how that would change with a few messages pushed from customer-to-customer. Think about the opportunity IHOP is missing by not keeping their 15-minutes alive throughout the year. Huge mistake!
  • Quiznos – Million Subs Viral Campaign. Quiznos created a site called, MillionSubs.com and gave away one million sub sandwiches over the course of a week. I had a small meatball on wheat with an oversized double-chocolate cookie. It was delicious. And free. However, there isn’t any information about the promotion just a few months later.
  • 7-11 – Slurpee Giveaway on 7/11. 7-11 stores have been giving away Slurpees for years as an annual promotion on one of the hottest days of summer. Perfectly targeting their audience and reminded them to “cool down with a Slurpee.” Notice the press release on their corporate site. Great move.

What amazes me about these promos? Just months later, I can’t easily find information about them on the corporate sites. It’s the blogger reviews, news services, Twitter and other web pages that show up in Google for their branded promo. Try it.

Traditionally, we’ve seen giveaways for food using free or buy-one-get-one free coupons, in-store taster promotions or trial giveaways, order by mail giveaways (a fantastic gimmick that grew lead lists by millions) and so on. These are all aimed at an older audience; a previous generation. A less connected people who usually believe more of what they’re told. Trying to take these old school marketing tactics online can create a negative impact because you’re approaching a younger, hipper audience that demand new forms of interaction from corporations.

A couple brands that have successfully created a social experience rather than just offer a freebie giveaway include:

  • Charity Water – Twestival (Twitter Festival) raised $250,000 for awareness of the global water crisis and used the money to drill fresh water wells. Notice on the site, however, that you can easily tweet facts right from the site. A variety a messages, ready to go, so you relate to one of them and send it with almost no effort. Keep in mind, their audience are Twitter users who speak the language you see on this site. In addition, videos show more about the cause. These videos are uploaded to free video services that have their own audiences thus building traffic from two audiences simultaneously.
  • Help Remedies – Selling the least sexy grocery store products in a newly re-packaged way that uses packaging as a selling point. Furthermore, there are pages on their website to entertain you while you visit. If you’re interested in finding a local place to purchase their product, you are presented with a Google Map where you can easily get directions from anywhere in the world. Funny thing is, I’d buy this over a generic product because it’s fun. Forget the fact that both products get the job done. Click through for more information about each product. It’s quite entertaining, actually.

Other forms of online marketing give-a-ways come as product reviews on blogs or Twitter promos that include re-tweeting a message that can be tracked and a winner picked.

Squarespace did this by offering an iPhone giveaway by simply using the hash-tag (#) and their name like you see below. This allows them to track the messages about their promotion. It also gave them a great opportunity to release information about their new iPhone app because they had an audience listening to the brand Squarespace and relating it to the iPhone.


Whatever the case, you can use social media properties to reach out to new audiences and avoid the age creep in your demographic. Find out how to launch a successful campaign and get your customers to become your marketers.

We have a HUGE, $60,000 SEO Giveaway going including free web design & development, SEO and other online marketing services.

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