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Still other small or regional brands were able to leverage the news that mattered to their fans, whether that news happened in food or in sports.

For example, Rally’s and Checkers, the sibling drive-thru brands that share social-media platforms, turned big news from competitor Burger King into a positive for their chains during the second week of September, when their collective NRN Social 200 score rose 13.6 percent to 11.77.

Checker's and Rally's

The brands’ most-engaging Facebook post of the period by far was an image of the Checkers Fry Lover’s Burger, a limited-time offer from last year, with the caption, “Anything they can do, we’ve already done better.” The post was referring to Burger King’s $1 French Fry Burger, introduced Sept. 1 as a limited-time offer. In addition to nearly 600 likes and nearly 60 shares, Checkers’ post received more than 35 comments, many sharing sentiments like, “No one beats the Checkers’ Fry Lover’s Burger” or “Checkers had this way before Burger King.”

For Pittsburgh-based family-dining chain Eat’n Park, the entire month of September was a social-media windfall as the Pittsburgh Pirates ended a streak of 20 consecutive losing seasons and played their way into Major League Baseball’s playoffs.

During the first week of September, a simple picture on Facebook tied in several large brand equities Eat’n Park has cultivated for decades, including its signature Smiley Cookies, which made the two zeroes in “.500,” celebrating the fact that the Pirates would finish with a winning percentage of at least .500. That Sept. 4 post earned more than 520 likes and nearly 200 shares from fans around Pittsburgh, where Eat’n Park has most of its locations. The chain also began selling a “Bury the Streak Gift Box,” in which Smiley Cookies were sold in a plastic coffin.

Eat’n Park’s Social 200 index score that week rose 13.3 percent to 10.33, and as the Pirates kept up their winning ways throughout the month, the chain kept posting Pirates-related content, often with the “#RaisetheJollyRoger” hash tag. Eat’n Park brought about a 23.8-percent gain in its index score the last week of September as well.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN