A&W Restaurants has introduced its new Mini Polar Swirls menu item through a series of six-second videos released solely on the new Vine social media application.
In each of the videos, the brand's Rooty the Great Root Bear mascot performs a magic trick involving the new, smaller version of the chain’s popular Polar Swirl offering.
Liz Bazner, A&W Restaurants' social and digital communications strategist, said the brand felt that Vine, a short-form video-sharing application from Twitter, was an ideal platform for the promotion. “Since magic is hot on Vine,” she said, “we felt that sharing the news of shrinking our Polar Swirl into a Mini Polar Swirl created a natural content strategy for a fun-size campaign.”
The magic theme will continue with new Vine videos posted throughout the week, the company said.
Bazner said A&W's social team had “Vine-storming idea sessions” before creating Vine videos that made the team laugh. In addition, Ashlee Harris, account planner with Lexington, Ky.-based Cornett Integrated Marketing Solutions, which works with A&W on marketing programs, said the social team looked at hundreds of Vine clips for inspiration.
“Anyone who made an unbelievable Vine, we wanted to learn how they made it,” Harris said. “The community is super creative, so there's a wealth of inspiration. Then add Rooty, a super cute kid, hula hoops, fishing wire, mirrors, a rabbit, a magician's cloak, duct taped camera accessories, Oreo's, M&M's, Reese's, mini polar swirl cups and a HUGE learning curve, patience and some good, old-fashioned trial and error.”
The Vine video was produced with an iOS device and a tripod clamp, Bazner added.
Since the Monday introduction, Rooty’s followers on Vine have more than doubled. A&W is adding new Rooty Vine videos and new tricks daily, Bazner noted. “Rooty’s ‘Magic Mini Polar Swirls’ have been a hit,” she said in an email. “Embracing a new digital platform isn’t something that people necessarily expect from A&W, but over the past 16 months we’ve made a concerted effort to change that.
“Our fans realize that we’re a fun brand with a sense of humor,” she added. “Plus the product really lends itself to whimsy and playfulness.”
Like A&W, other restaurants are looking at the potential of Vine for introducing new products. Taco Bell, for example, recently teased the introduction of its new Cool Ranch Doritos Locos Taco with a Vine video after the platform was introduced by Twitter earlier this year.
Lexington, Ky.-based A&W Restaurants Inc. has more than 1,200 units.
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