Hardee's is diving headlong into mobile as part of an interactive, multi-platform campaign to introduce its newest menu item, Biscuit Holes.
The campaign, which asks Hardee's fans to help the chain come up with a better name for the deep-fried biscuit treats, also encompasses numerous integrated advertising, social media and online components.
Humorous commercials from Mendelsohn|Zien Advertising -- some with a "man on the street" format in which people are asked to sample and rename the holes -- are being televised within Hardee's' markets (Midwest and Southeast), as well as being posted on Hardee's YouTube brand channel and Facebook page.
The commercials drive consumers to the campaign's microsite, www.NameOurHoles.com, to submit their name ideas. Once there, they may also choose to tweet their name suggestions to their Twitter followers, post them on their own Facebook walls, or submit a video. Some of the consumer-generated videos will be pushed to the Hardee's YouTube channel, where there are more options for sharing the content with friends.
But the most novel aspect of the campaign is an aggressive, highly integrated mobile component that may cause other QSRs to notice. Consumers with mobile Net access can use a mobile-optimized version of the NameOurHoles site not only to submit their name suggestions, but to watch the commercials on streaming video, share the site, send personalized Hardee's mobile greeting cards to friends, view product information and photos or opt to receive updates from Hardee's.
The mobile site, created by iLoop Mobile, integrates with the microsite through form fields that collect the user's suggested name for Biscuit Holes, as well as other user profile data. Names suggested via mobile actually are inserted into the TV spots after being transmitted to the Web site's database.
The campaign will also deliver geotargeted advertising across Jumptap's ad network through a channel comprising premium sites and applications predominantly frequented by adults 18 to 49, including Boost Mobile, Joker Poker, MocoSpace, LimeLife and Weatherbug. Hardee's will also run display ads on tapMatch, Jumptap's self-service pay-per-click mobile performance marketplace.
In addition to the TV commercials, social media exposure and online advertising, a special online-only video is being shown on the IndoorDirect systems installed in some Hardee's restaurants, and also on YouTube, reports Brad Rosenberg, manager of digital strategy and marketing for CKE. This spot includes a direct call to action, urging customers to get on their cell phones right now, go to the site and submit a name idea for Biscuit Holes.
If all that weren't enough, a sticker affixed to all packaging for the Biscuit Holes drives customers to the URL to submit their name ideas.
"We view our 'young, hungry guy' customers as people who are going to do things instantaneously, so mobile seems a natural" medium for CKE, notes Rosenberg.
Considering the importance of teens and young adults to the customer bases of all QSRs, one would assume that most of them would be all over mobile by now. But in reality, these chains have been "very moderate" in adopting the medium thus far, in contrast to industries such as entertainment, travel and financial services, according to Paran Johar, CMO of mobile advertising solutions provider Jumptap.
Because of this campaign's highly interactive nature, CKE and Mendelsohn|Zien, its agency of record, recognized it as a "great opportunity" to employ mobile's ability to engage, Johar adds. "Mobile isn't just an afterthought in this campaign; it is integrated into its core," he says.
It didn't hurt that the costs of the mobile component of the campaign were actually courtesy of a free "mobile advertising immersion" program that was given away by Jumptap, iLoop and digital marketing researcher InsightExpress during ad:tech's MobileMax conference this past April.
To showcase mobile marketing's power and how the integration process works, the promotion offered a full program worth $55,000 -- including the media placement through Jumptap, iLoop's mobile site services, and results measurement through InsightExpress's Mobile AdInsights' study.
The Hardee's Biscuit Holes case study and its results are scheduled to be presented at ad:tech New York in November.
CKE's previous mobile efforts have been much more limited. A "Burger Slayer" application encouraged customers to take digital camera photos of themselves eating a Hardee's or Carl's Jr. burger and post them to the Web. The two chains also offer an "iBurger" application for the iPhone that lets fans indulge in virtually devouring a Thickburger.