TGI Fridays recently revealed they have been marketing their restaurant to fans of professional wrestling. A new trend in marketing is for companies to develop “brand advocates” as opposed to paid endorsements. According to TGI Fridays, wrestlers make fantastic brand advocates.
Amanda Brown, senior manager of digital marketing at TGI Friday’s, spoke with VentureBeat about this new trend.
“We really do find that when we activate our brand advocates, we see a lot more of a positive lift in sentiment for our brand,” said Brown.
The Twitter account for Wendy’s often works a similar gimmick.
Young Bucks and TGI Fridays
TGI Fridays said they first discovered the Young Bucks when the brothers began Tweeting about their Tokyo location. Matt & Nick Jackson would jokingly refer to it as their favorite local restaurant while in Japan. The restaurant invited the Young Bucks to their headquarters the next time they were back in the United States.
“This is a true harmonious relationship that we’re building with these wrestlers,” Brown explained. “You could feel the excitement and the authenticity once we actually met them face to face and started engaging with them. That was the biggest opportunity for us to really bring an authentic influencer relationship to life, versus what we had previously been doing in our strategy with influencers, which is strictly paid.”
TGI Fridays said they wooed the Bucks by giving them VIP service. The Bucks then invited them to help sponsor All In.
— The Young Bucks (@MattJackson13) August 17, 2018
“They said, we’d love you to be a part of it because we love you and we know our fans love you,” Brown said. “To have that kind of an approach to a relationship and a sponsorship is completely different than anything I’ve ever seen before with a paid agreement. It also helped us build a bigger relationship with our consumers. Once we did sponsor that event, we got so much love from their fan base saying, ‘thank you so much for supporting our favorite wrestlers.’ We got to see the power of really building and establishing a good rapport with our influencers, treating them well, and really welcoming their fan base.”
In terms of how their sponsorship of All In worked out, TGI Fridays could not have been more thrilled.
“Sentiment, obviously, was through the roof,” Brown continued. “It was the second-largest spike that we had had all year in sentiment and overall volume and conversation.”
TGI Fridays and Baron Corbin
TGI Fridays then mentioned how a Twitter interaction with Baron Corbin helped give the restaurant some cost-effective exposure.
“We ended up developing a relationship with Baron Corbin and teasing him about getting fired from Friday’s, getting him a severance package of boneless wings,” she continued. “There’s a lot that just comes from embracing this niche audience that we didn’t know existed, and then turning that into not only sponsorships but new and expanded awareness of our brand.”
We’re glad you brought this up. He was fired a couple of weeks ago for taking his vest home. ?
— TGI Fridays (@TGIFridays) July 29, 2018
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