Arby’s bypasses TV for first time to promote Mini Snack sandwiches with online campaign

ATLANTA —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

It was the first time Arby’s had bypassed TV to promote a new product—in this case, Mini Snack sandwiches—to determine how well an online campaign, backed only with in-store material, would affect sales. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Such major brands as Burger King [3], McDonald’s [4] and Pizza Hut [5] use online marketing to promote new products, but their efforts usually include a strong TV buy because of the medium’s ability to reach the mass market. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Smaller chains with little or no money for media campaigns often use their own websites as the dominant marketing tool. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Arby’s goal was to target specific markets and reach a broader base of younger consumers with an “engaging” interactive campaign, said Cyndi Richardson, vice president of company marketing. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

“The products lend themselves to a younger consumer,” she said. “We were looking for a way to attract that younger consumer, and the Internet was the place to go. The products had not been promoted outside the restaurant.” —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

The campaign was an “isolated test” in Savannah, Ga., and Montgomery, Ala., chosen because those markets have many company-owned stores, Richardson said. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Fletcher Martin of Atlanta created the campaign, which included a “Snack Attack” game, in which players grab as many Mini Snack sandwiches as quickly as possible. A separate revolving banner ad allowed players to move the sandwiches around a rotating sphere to highlight their ingredients. The campaign also had standard banner ads. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

The campaign appeared on various Yahoo sites. Although Arby’s and Fletcher Martin were still analyzing results, initial findings show that the “Snack Attack” game drew the most interaction from website visitors, said Brad Sarmiento, the agency’s vice president of interactive. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

That’s not exactly a surprise. Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research found that click-through rates on ads that are part of a game are 1 percent, 20 times higher than the 0.05-percent rate of traditional banner ads. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Because the Internet suffers from ad clutter much like TV does, grabbing consumers’ attention is “pretty key,” Sarmiento said. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Consumer attention to standard banner ads is comparable to the attention they pay to outdoor billboards, he said. In both cases, if there’s nothing that compels consumers to slow down and take a look at them, they’ll skip past. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

That’s why the campaign used the game and revolving banner as an “engaging way [for consumers] to personally interact with the Arby’s brand,” Sarmiento said. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Click-through rates allow Arby’s to determine how many people are engaging with the ads and how long they paid attention to them, said Mary Ellen Barto, Arby’s vice president of media services. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Although Arby’s, a subsidiary of Triarc Cos. [6] Inc. with about 3,700 units worldwide, has always relied on TV campaigns to drive new-product sales, the chain is experimenting with “layers of communication” to reach consumers more effectively, Barto said. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

“The Internet and other interactive platforms provide a way to do that,” she said, because Arby’s young target market is “predisposed to being active and engaged online.” —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Online is one of the places marketers across the board are headed, according to the new Veronis Suhler Stevenson Communications Industry Forecast 2008-2012. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Spending on alternative media will rise 21 percent this year to $81.67 billion and account for 17.7 percent of all advertising and marketing spending, up from 6.9 percent in 2002, the forecast found. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Broadcast TV will surpass newspapers as the largest ad medium this year, according to the forecast, but total Internet ad spending will overtake broadcast TV in 2011. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Traditional advertising and marketing will increase a scant 0.4 percent this year. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

More local online campaigns similar to the ones in Savannah and Montgomery are likely in the future, Richardson said. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

TV remains “an important part” of the chain’s marketing mix, Barto said, but consumer use of digital video recorders to skip commercials poses a threat to the effectiveness of TV advertising. Even consumers watching commercials on a delayed basis “has a detrimental impact” on sales for short-term promotions, she said. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Internet campaigns have more flexibility than TV spots in targeting consumers geographically, demographically and behaviorally, and in focusing on specific dayparts, Barto said. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

A Triarc Cos. financial report said upcoming national campaigns will support value products as a supplement to the core menu. Arby’s will continue traditional TV advertising, Richardson said, but added that it doesn’t have to take up the entire media budget. TV buys are less cost-effective than in the past, she said. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

Fletcher Martin’s Sarmiento, while acknowledging that marketers still want a combination of TV and Internet buys, is looking to broaden the use of media. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.

“We’re trying to find more and more nontraditional ways to reach consumers, and the Web is just one of the ways,” he said. —In a clear sign that nontraditional media are playing a larger role in the marketing efforts of major restaurant chains, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. recently concluded a three-week campaign that ignored TV in favor of the Internet.