Reporter's Notebook
Social marketing without a smartphone app

Social marketing without a smartphone app

Today there is “social marketing” tied to such virtual worlds as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, and then there’s social marketing tied to the real world. I witnessed the latter during a Major League Soccer match between the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif.

While the caliber of soccer play on that toasty mid-September afternoon was noteworthy, what also stood out was the marketing presence of In-N-Out Burger, Jack in the Box and Jamba Juice. For starters, all three of those NRN Top 100 chains had their logos on the large score and messaging board.

      Top 100 trio on MLS scoreboard

Jamba Juice wasn’t into giveaways that day, but In-N-Out awarded complimentary Double-Double cheeseburgers for all the folks seated in the section of the stadium that, on cue, rooted the loudest for the home team. Jack in the Box offered coupons for two free Tacos if Earthquakes players scored a goal during the last 30 minutes of play – which they did to tie the game, 1-1, with their Southern California rivals.

Checking in with Jack in the Box about its trigger promotions, I was told by officials of that San Diego-based chain of about 2,250 quick-service restaurants that they have been used in conjunction with other teams for several years but that 2014 marked the first time they were in place at Earthquakes games.

“Product giveaways at sporting events are great opportunities to increase trial,” Brian Luscomb, a Jack in the Box Inc. spokesman, explained. But, he added, “We’re not simply giving away coupons; fans have to work for them by cheering and supporting the home team so it’s a little more rewarding at the end of the game when [they] can walk away with something more than just a win.”

Jack in the Box does not publicize business metrics associated with its trigger promotions, but Luscomb shared that the chain does pay an unspecified amount to pro franchises to get involved in their events. In addition to its relationship with the Earthquakes, the chain has regular season trigger promotion deals with Major League Baseball’s Arizona Diamondbacks and the National Football League’s Dallas Cowboys, Houston Texans and Seattle Seahawks.

1 point=free JITB taco coupons for Earthquakes fans

Detailing how the promotions work, Luscomb noted that when a Diamondbacks player “jacks” a home run, fans can visit Jack in the Box restaurants in Phoenix and Tucson the next day to receive a free Jumbo Jack burger with the purchase of a large drink. Under the Seahawks promotion, he said, any time that team sacks the opposing quarterback three times in a game ‘Hawks supporters in the Seattle area can get a free Jumbo Jack with the purchase of a large drink.

Cowboys fans in the Dallas-Fort Worth market can receive two free tacos with the purchase of a large drink the day after their team scores a touchdown in the first quarter, and Houston-area backers of the Texans receive a free Monster Taco with any purchase when their team scores two six pointers in a single game, Luscomb added. To claim their prizes, Cowboys and Texans fans must utter the words “touchdowns for tacos.”

Note that with the exception of the Earthquakes’ offer, Jack in the Box’s prizes all required a purchase, thereby offsetting some of the direct cost of the visit-spurring reward.

With all the out-among-others, camaraderie and shared interest implications for consumers around sports trigger promotions, I, for one, am willing to cheer for those scoring initial business trial or greater guest frequency as good examples of offline ‘social.’

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