In the two years we've worked on Chili's social, we've seen it all. But for all the vitriol that comes with those platforms you also get to witness the brand love. And for Chili's, there's a lot of it. We knew we could stoke those flames by giving people ways to love our brand beyond the restaurant and our social feeds. So, we created limited time activations and one of a kind brand swag that allowed our biggest fans to wear that love right on their sleeves. Or as underpants, as the case may be.
After watching our fans clamor for every fake product we posted on our instagram feed we knew launching a lifestyle store would be an instant hit. But with a lot of brands playing in this territory it needed to be a little more special. Working with Chili's PR team, we made an ultra-exclusive, one day only, Cyber-Monday pop up shop that sold a limited amount of the most sought after and storied Chili's swag you could shake a chicken crisper at.
Chili's one-day only
From Pam's epic night at the Dundies to outrageous Chili's-themed memes, each item leveraged cultural reference that was sure to engage our internet savvy audience.
We designed a custom website with branded language, imagery, and all the details you need on the products. The page itself acted as our pop-up store, that you could only get to when it opened on Cyber-Monday.
The Chili's Cyber Monday Pop Up Shop garnered 110 million potential impressions, 47K engagements, and got picked up by 19 unique media outlets including Food & Wine Magazine, Fast Company, Elite Daily, and Adage to name a few. Nearly 400 items were sold that day actually making Chili's $6,000 on top of the earned media, awareness and positive sentiment we saw rise on that day.
Chili's relevance online isn't all due to Chili's. They've stayed topical in part because of a strange video posted on Vine of all places, that turned into one of the internet's favorite memes. For those of us running the Chili's social accounts, any reference to the "Hi, welcome to Chili's" kid on our feeds gave us some web-street-cred and instantly boosted our engagement. So, on Halloween of 2018 we launched the most self-aware costume anyone ever could. Playing into the internet's joke, we created a Hallo-meme costume, referencing the underpants-clad kid saying "Hi, welcome to Chili's" in his bathroom mirror.
Giving Our Fans a Chance to have the Most Ironic Halloween Costume by Leveraging an Iconic Meme.
Don’t be another basic witch at the Halloween party this year. WOW your friends with this one-of-a-kind costume that screams, “MEME.” We made sure everyone knew that they too could be the "Hi, Welcome to Chili's kid". It was a dumb joke, and we were in on it.
Did we really make the product? Damn right. And it came in cheesy throwback packaging with a cardboard cutout phone to complete the ensemble. We promoted the costume on social and even made a custom landing page where our fans could buy it.
Everybody remembers their mom taking photos of them and their friends dressed in their costumes before going out trick-or-treating. So we referenced those front-flash polaroids for our photography giving it that bad, mom-photography look it so desperately needed.
Chili's gives to St. Jude Children's Hospital every year. And what better time to give a little something extra, than during the giving season. So, during the Holiday season, we launched our Chili's Ugly Holiday Sweater. When they saw it, Chili's fans went on high alert. The catch was, only one sweater was available for purchase. With the proceeds all going to St. Jude.
One Ugly Sweater. One Very Good Cause.
Yes, the sweater was atrocious and the ultimate holiday cliché. So, we promoted it with the exact opposite messaging: nothing’s as fashionable as giving during the holidays. Our parody fashion ads featured models wearing the sweater in classical poses while holding Chili's classic dishes; Burgers, Ribs, Fajitas, and Margaritas—the same dishes that appeared on the sweater itself.
We promoted our philanthropic fashion faux pas across our social channels and with select media outlets, creating gifs, photography holiday poems, and even a few select sweater giveaways to lucky members of the press.
We auctioned off the sweater on Ebay, raising hundreds of dollars, some earned media and awareness for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. And that’s the most fashionable thing an ugly sweater will ever do.
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