A&W Restaurants is jumping headfirst into social media with the help of its mascot, Rooty The Great Root Bear and its agency, Cornett-Integrated Marketing Solutions. Back in February, A&W Restaurants created a LinkedIn profile for Rooty, marking the first time a brand mascot had its own LinkedIn profile, according to the company. Those who added Rooty as a connection received a fun and light-hearted LinkedIn recommendation.
Rooty wasn’t able to deliver too many recommendations, however, because once LinkedIn caught wind of his page, it was shut down completely, because Rooty isn’t a real person. In a follow-up video posted to YouTube, Rooty begs to differ.
On April 1, A&W Restaurants launched a new product, Mini Polar Swirls, using Twitter’s Vine app. The company believes it is the first brand to launch a product on Vine – which may be correct, given that the app is fairly new, although increasing in popularity.
Since users have just six seconds of video to get their point across, a product launch seems more challenging than being restricted to 140 characters. And I wasn’t kidding on how new Vine is; Rooty has a whopping four followers.
“We loved the unique opportunity in Vine,” said Liz Bazner, Social & Digital Communications Strategist at A&W. “It's a great platform to allow us to share our delicious products in a really fun way. And since #magic is hot on Vine, we felt that sharing the news of shrinking our Polar Swirl into a Mini Polar Swirl created a natural content strategy for a fun size campaign.”
The Mini Polar Swirls are miniature sizes of the restaurant’s larger Polar Swirls, which blend ice cream with candy or cookies. In various Vine postings, Rooty shows off his flair for magic tricks by transforming cookies into an ice cream and cookie mini polar swirl, making a little girl appear from thin air -- or a hula hoop and playing whack-a-mole on a table, causing mini polar swirls to vanish. See Rooty’s magic tricks here, here and here.
“Embracing a new digital platform wasn’t something that people probably expected from A&W, but over the past 16 months we’ve made a concerted effort to change that,” concluded Bazner. “Our fans realize that we’re a fun brand with a sense of humor. Social media is the best place to take advantage of that and really interact with our customers.”