Good Golly, Miss MollySeptember 4, 2009
When creating a promotion, it's hard to tell at the outset whether it will be successful or not. The concept could be off base for the target audience, major mistakes could happen or it simply might be the wrong time. But for the 34-location Cheeseburger in Paradise chain, based in Tampa, Fla., its "Get Flocked" promotion has all the makings of a classic.
Behind the Program
Get Flocked started as the brainchild of Cheeseburger in Paradise's Monica Tary, director of beverage & training, and Casey Barile, marketing manager, as well as Skyy Spirits' Wendy Dunlap in an attempt to drive sales on the Pink Flamingo Margarita, which involves Cabo Wabo Reposado Tequila and X-Rated Fusion liqueur and stands as the most expensive specialty drink on the chain's menu.
"We wanted to do a drink with X-Rated Fusion because it was a great fit for our brand and it mixes so well," Tary explains. "We tasted a lot of versions, but the recipe we ended up with (developed in our Ft. Myers, Fla., location) is by far the best." (For recipe, see below.)
The chain also wanted to capture a return visit from customers, strengthen its social media network on Facebook and Twitter, grow its customer database and, especially, create a fun event for customers, Tary says.
Dunlap suggested the name and the idea of using the classic flamingo lawn ornament, and after a few brainstorming sessions, Get Flocked was born.
The plan: get customers to "check out" Molly Flamingo, a logoed Cheeseburger in Paradise pink flamingo lawn ornament, and take a "good, clean fun" photo with her wherever their travels took them. When guests returned her, they would receive a code to enter on the web site to submit their photos (guaranteeing Molly's safe return while also garnering a repeat visit). Once they submitted photos, each store would select monthly winners, and after the 10-week promotion was up, five winners would be selected by a panel of Cheeseburger in Paradise staff and awarded prizes, including a four-night cruise for two.
To spread the word about the promotion, each location offered a plethora of promotional materials: Tiki Bar menu inserts, summer features menu, bathroom posters, in-store displays, bar easel signs, buttons, coasters and check presenters. Plus, Molly was on display for patrons to see, Tary explains.
"Off site, we had highlights in our monthly e-newsletter, a separate page on our web site with links to Twitter and Facebook, a Cheeseburger in Paradise Facebook page, a Molly Flamingo Facebook page and PR support that resulted in 181 articles written and 262 million online impressions," she notes.
Plus, the servers were vital to encouraging the contest and the drink, helping the Pink Flamingo Margarita become the restaurant's number one drink in terms of sales (incremental sales during the promotion were more than $200,000).
To begin, each location was given 15 Molly Flamingos. And here comes the one snag of the promotion: Although customers could take Molly for free and had to return her for the code to submit their photos online, they didn't always want to give Molly up. "The response to the promotion was bigger then we anticipated and we found that many people wanted to 'check out' Molly but didn't want to bring her back," Tary says. "We had our logo 'tattooed' on her and she became a bit of a collector's item." The company had to order more Mollys and send them to each restaurant; for those customers willing to hold out for Molly, the restaurants created "wait lists" and contacted customers when a new Molly was available (thus generating another visit), Tary explains. Customers took Molly on vacations or just across town, getting photos of and with her in various scenarios. "We had customers take her to dinner in Santorini or on a safari in Africa," she says. "Others created funny scenarios for Molly to find herself in such as relaxing in a bubble bath with a Pink Flamingo Margarita and a Cheeseburger in Paradise."
More than 500 photos were submitted for the contest, Cheeseburger in Paradise was able to increase its customer database by 5,000 entries and 28,453 Pink Flamingo Margaritas were sold.
"I think it is safe to say that Molly will be back and ready to join in on some Spring Break fun in 2010," Tary says.
Pink Flamingo Margarita
- 1 ounce Cabo Wabo Reposado Tequila
- 1 ounce X-Rated Fusion liqueur
- 2 ounces Margarita rocks mix
- 1 ounce strawberry puree
Garnish with Pink Flamingo pick, lime and orange wedges, sugar and salt rim glass.
Emily Hanna Mayock