While Papa John’s is once again having a major pizza giveaway as the official restaurant sponsor of the National Football League and Super Bowl XLVII, other restaurant chains are not stuck on the bench. Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, KFC, Chipotle and Dickey’s are all leveraging bundled meals and combos to help boost sales leading up to the big game between the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens on Feb. 3.
The three major chains in the Yum! Brands Inc. portfolio have advertised combo deals for sports fans all January. Pizza Hut and Taco Bell once again are marketing their Big Dinner Box and Taco 12 Pack, respectively, and this year sibling brand KFC has made a bigger play for sports-viewing business with the Gameday Bucket.
Couchgating - KFC
The $19.99 limited-time offer combines eight pieces of
“When having people over to watch the big game, we know that people only get one shot at impressing their friends and family,” Jason Marker, KFC’s chief marketing officer, said in a statement. “That’s why KFC is coming to the rescue with the Gameday Bucket. It’s food worthy of the game.”
Getting the message out
To help promote its Gameday Bucket, KFC will award people with special prizes like T-shirts, foam fingers and gift certificates for including the “#couchgating” hash tag in their posts on Facebook or Twitter. A grand prize of gear to turn a living room into “Couchgating Central” includes a high-definition TV, couch and loveseat, recliner, tables, mini refrigerator and several Gameday Buckets.
Although major football games like the Super Bowl are typically strong occasions for a barbecue chain like Dickey’s Barbecue, this year the brand is hoping to increase sales of its Tailgate Pack combo meals — which include one pound each of three smoked meats, three medium side dishes, rolls and barbecue sauce — with a social media contest.
Beginning Tuesday and running through Jan. 31, two “Are You Dickey’s Biggest Fan?” contests are happening simultaneously on Facebook and Twitter. The Facebook contest asks players to upload pictures of themselves wearing their favorite team’s jersey while holding a Dickey’s Big Yellow Cup to the brand’s page, and the winner will receive a $500 gift card.
The winner of the Twitter contest, who must list in 140 characters or fewer why he or she is Dickey’s biggest fan and use the “#teamdickeys” hash tag, will win a $50 gift card.
Pizza Hut and Taco Bell also are also making big investments in the Super Bowl with new commercials. Pizza Hut’s planned pregame spot will be a user-generated commercial in which people will have submitted their best impressions of a quarterback yelling out a pre-snap “Hut. Hut. Hut!”
Taco Bell will run its new ad in the second quarter of the Super Bowl. The cost of Taco Bell’s ad buy was not disclosed, but MediaPost’s “Marketing: Sports” newsletter said CBS charged an average of $3.8 million for air time during the game, with some spots going for more than $4 million. The chain released a 60-second “teaser” of the commercial on YouTube last week.
Chains can leverage special promotions such to spur repeat traffic, said Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Chicago-based research firm Technomic Inc. “Brands that are doing Super Bowl promotions are trying to find the right way to get repeat business,” he said. “If you can get customers to do something twice, you likely can build a pattern.”
Chipotle Mexican Grill, which recently began a test of catering, had that in mind with its bounce-back offer for all Burritos by the Box orders picked up on Super Bowl Sunday. Customers must place an order of at least six burritos for Feb. 3, but then may bring back that receipt any time through Feb. 28 to receive a free entrée.
In past years, Pizza Hut and Taco Bell have managed to sustain business of the Big Dinner Box and Taco 12 Pack by promoting it for other group-gathering occasions, Tristano noted, but KFC might have a harder time doing so for the Gameday Bucket — not only does the product’s name imply football season, but so does “couchgating.”
Fans may not get to couchgate again for another eight months after the Super Bowl, he said, so KFC likely has a large rooting interest in getting a spike in sales for Feb. 3.
“Those types of promotions will likely have the greatest impact at the beginning of the season or postseason, when you can have weeks of getting people to ‘couchgate,’” Tristano said. “Ideally, this is reminding lapsed customers who haven’t used KFC in a while that this is a good opportunity for their food at a small gathering.”
This article has been updated to reflect the following correction:
Correction: January 25, 2013 An earlier version of this article stated that Taco Bell’s Super Bowl commercial will air during the third quarter of the game’s broadcast. The spot now will show during the game’s second quarter.
Contact Mark Brandau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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