Chili’s Grill & Bar late this week will pull the wrappings off a comprehensive multi-layer social and digital media holiday campaign that starts on Black Friday and will provide traffic-driving offers every day through Christmas Eve.
The brand’s HoliDaily campaign will employ Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, the chain’s mobile website and the Chili’s smartphone app to provide consumers with special offers, according to Krista Gibson, senior vice president of brand strategy for the division of Brinker International.
Offers will change daily throughout the 32-day campaign, a big difference from the brand's prior two years of the HoliDaily campaign, during which offers were just posted on the website early in the week or sent in an email to customers. “We expect the incremental sales to be almost double what they were last year, and part of that is because it’s every day,” said Gibson during an interview.
This year’s HoliDaily offers will mark the first time the casual-dining chain has tapped into all levels of its digital and social media with a coordinated effort. “The inspiration came from someone on my team a couple of years ago saying that the retailers really do a great job of getting their customers excited about the holidays and their specials often,” Gibson explained. “We wanted to create that kind of excitement as a restaurant company."
The campaign is all digital and social with no television or radio, she said. “We’re seeing more and more engagement happening with our guests in the social space, so part of it is wanting to be where our guests are," said Gibson. "If they have opted in on those social platforms to be friends of the brand, it’s a great way to let them know what’s happening.”
Offers will be available on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the Chili's mobile app every morning so guests have all day to use the coupons. The offers are intended to drive guest traffic throughout the week, according to Gibson. “We know [consumers] are out and about shopping, so we wanted to give them more reasons to come to Chili’s,” she said.
Nearly all of the offers pushed through the digital and social channels will be for free items from chips and salsa to desserts. “The only one that is not free is right before Christmas, which will be a discount for eGift cards,” Gibson said. “That’s for the last-minute shoppers. The closer it gets to the holidays, we’ll be trying to incent shoppers to buy the eGift cards.”
The company said it has about 60 percent more free food offers in this HoliDaily campaign compared to last year. “Some new things this year are the Southwest egg rolls or our new pretzel sticks or the sweet potato fries,” Gibson said. “It’s also a good way to get some trial on those.”
Chili's will not be using Instagram, which the company launched for its brand in October, or Foursquare, as part of this social campaign. The company has offered free chips and salsa to Foursquare check-ins for more than a year.
“We’re still trying to figure out which social platforms are relevant for a restaurant company,” said Gibson. “There is a bit of trail and error at this point.”
The HoliDaily digital-social campaign was developed with Chili’s digital agency, according to Gibson. The end game is not just to drive frequency among guests during the holidays, she said, “We want to generate engagement with our guests with the daily offer to get them to look at the mobile app or go to the website.”
Chili’s has more than 1,500 restaurants in all 50 states and in 33 countries and two U.S. territories.