This post is part of the Reporter's Notebook blog.
Whataburger is drawing distinctions — or at least letting customers color them in.
As part of its celebration of National Burger Month, the San Antonio-based burger chain is capitalizing on the recent adult coloring book trend with a May contest for grown-ups who have their Crayolas at the ready.
Just how big is coloring? Nielsen Bookscan, which tracks as much as 85 percent of the book market, estimates that about 12 million adult coloring books were sold in 2015, a dramatic jump from 1 million sold the previous year. And Google Trends for “adult coloring books” searches indicates a peak this past Christmas.
Whataburger is offering prizes for the most creative coloring of themed pages, created with San Antonio-based Blue Star Coloring, that can be downloaded from the Whataburger website and printed out.
Themes include a classic A-Frame Whataburger drive-in and the original Whataburger. For those seeking tonal consistency, bottles of ketchup are available for coloring as well.
Weekly winners will receive Whataburger sandwiches for a year, and the grand prize for the best design overall is $2,500 awarded at the end of the month. Contestants enter by snapping a smartphone photo of their artwork and submitting it via Whataburger’s Facebook, Instagram or Twitter platforms using the hashtag #TheArtOfBurgers.
Winning entries will be featured on Whataburger's own social media channels.
“We like to think there is an art to creating a Whataburger,” said Pam Cox, Whataburger vice president of communications, in a statement, “and we've seen some amazing Whataburger-themed artwork over the years, so we're excited to see what our fans come up with this year.”
Whataburger has more than 790 locations in 10 states.