Quick-food restaurant Subway of Canada was looking for a promotion that would get their customers excited about their brand and generate increased sandwich and 21-ounce Coca-Cola fountain-drink sales from April to June, a time of year when sales were traditionally low.
The Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust creates advertising and marketing programs to promote the brand and build sales. In 2008, they had run a Hasbro Scrabble game promotion that worked so well that they decided to run the same program again in 2009, while taking the learnings from the previous year and making it even better.
The campaign was designed to incent repeat purchases and engage consumers in an exciting and relevant brand experience, with the goal of outdoing participation figures for the prior year, including increasing average product codes per person from 3.2 to 4+, increasing consumer opt-ins online and increasing the number of prizes awarded.
Participants received ‘peal and reveal’ stickers for sandwich and Coca-cola 21 oz. drink purchases. One side had a pin code with a Scrabble letter customers could play in the collect-and-win online game. A new component added in 2009 was the instant-win prize opportunity. This gave them more opportunities to win. The instant win side also had an additional letter to help them make words online and win more prizes. For example, players who collected ‘t’, ‘s’, ‘a’ and ‘d’ could spell ‘thousand’ and win that prize or hold out for a larger prize if they wanted to. Words like Subway, sandwich, instant, beverage, fresh, energy and value were already prepopulated on the board to help reinforce brand presence.
“We wanted to increase their playability so we put more lower-value prizes in the prize pool to incent them to get back into the store,” Jill Cashman, account directorforpromotional agency IC Group LP, which implemented the campaign, said.
They also eliminated ‘sorry try again’ stickers from the previous year and replaced them all with additional collect-and-win codes to keep people coming back into the stores.
“They always got a letter so there was always something to strive toward,” Cashman says.
Results exceeded objectives. Sales lift was higher than the 2009 sales average and grew despite a downturned market. In a post-survey, 67% found the promotion appealing; 57% felt it was different than promotions of other fast-food restaurants; 55% were likely to mention the promotion to others, while 78% were likely to participate in future promotions. In all, 1.3 million codes were entered from product purchases; there were 3+ million online page views, a 45 percent increase over the previous year, and 700,000 Web site visits, a 52% increase. Average time spent with the brand online increased 17% to 6:06 minutes, while opt-ins increased 90% to more than 64,000.
“I was extremely happy with these results,” said Kathleen Bell, marketing manager for Subway Restaurants of Canada. “I was able to show appreciation for all our loyal and occasional customers, as well as increase my franchise sales.” —Lynn Russo