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Building buzz behind Arby’s anniversary promotion

Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. is celebrating its 47th anniversary Saturday with a promotion of its signature Classic Roast Beef sandwich that will cost only 64 cents, to match the year of the chain’s birth in 1964.

But the deal is not without a catch — Arby’s customers must purchase a 22-ounce $1.59 drink and show a required coupon that’s only accessible by “liking” the brand on its Facebook page. The 64-cent offer is valid only on Saturday during regular business hours at participating locations. There is a limit of one coupon per transaction and the deal is not valid with any other coupon or offer.

The promotion for the 64-cent roast beef sandwich, which usually sells for $2.79 to $2.99, is not about building new traffic, said Bob Kraut, Arby’s senior vice president of advertising and marketing communications.

Instead, Kraut said it was an attempt to make Arby’s current Facebook user base of more than 590,000 fans more active with the brand online.

“It’s not an all-channels promotion. It’s targeted to the Facebook fans. This is more of an offer for people who follow the brand,” Kraut said. “We have had an active effort to build fans on Facebook. The social media is used by the younger people, and that’s important to us.”

And it’s not just about building raw numbers on Facebook and Twitter, either. The goal is to get Arby’s social media followers to send messages and tweets that create brand buzz.

“It’s about getting user engagement,” Kraut said.

The 3,600-unit Atlanta-based quick-service sandwich chain has come a long way since 1964, when brothers Forrest and Leroy Raffel opened the first Arby’s in Boardman, Ohio, with only 10 seats in a building shaped like a Conestoga wagon. The brothers originally wanted to name the restaurant "Big Tex," but instead chose Arby's, which derives from R.B. for Raffel Brothers, not roast beef as some have said.

“Who would have thought back then we’d be activating and selling our products in this new media that is so important to any marketer’s undertakings,” Kraut said.

Contact Alan Snel at [email protected].
Follow him on Twitter: @AlansnelNRN

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