Chevys Lets You Frame Yourself

By all accounts mobile and social media are merging, and anyone who follows this space also knows about the weird hold that food and restaurants seems to exert on people in the mobile-social universe. With that in mind, I recently saw a cute idea at Chevys (a Mexican restaurant chain in California, and something of a local institution) that allows diners to create “framed” mobile self-portraits using simple, printed and laminated standing-menu type flipbooks, and cardboard coasters with pop-out centers.

The standing spiral books and coasters, created by creative solutions agency Mindhard, carry the tagline “What’s your Chevys moment?” and offer decorative ‘frames’ for mobile shots, featuring popular themes such as “Bromance” and “BFF,” not to mention sombreros and other sorts of light-hearted Mexicana.

Mindhard founder Amir Parstabar noted that “to catalyze social and mobile activity, you need something physical for people to look at and share.” It doesn’t hurt that, if you’re like me, nothing could be more natural than absent-mindedly fiddling with your cardboard coaster -- making it pretty much inevitable that you will pop the center out, revealing the “frame” concept.

With their amusing framed photos in hand, or rather phone, diners can then use the hashtag #MyChevys to share the photos on Twitter and Instagram. Closing the loop in true social media fashion, Mindhard has been helping Chevys monitor postings to find the best user-generated content, which will feature (with the permission of the user) in future social media campaigns for the restaurant.

Parstabar noted that in addition to burnishing the restaurant chain’s authenticity, encouraging user-generated content is a cheap (indeed, free) form of advertising on Instagram, which might otherwise be priced beyond the range of smaller chains and local businesses.
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