Hooters Recruits Mobile Users To Show (Don't Tell)

Hooters-A2.There is something inspired about the new hashtag-driven user-generated "Step Into Awesome" campaign Hooters launched yesterday -- mainly because it answers a common question. What exactly does go on in Hooters? Visitors to the restaurant franchise known for its wings and women (not in that order) are invited to show images of the Hooters’ interiors via Instagram, Facebook or Twitter across the #stepintoawesome hashtag.

It is all about showing -- not telling, says Jeremy Skiver, CEO Skiver Advertising, Hooters’ recently named agency of record. But interestingly, Skiver tells me that the intent of the campaign is not necessarily to convert the Hooters virgins like myself who can’t decide what the brand is about. “We are talking to those folks who understand the brand and have some idea of what happens in a Hooters.” After researching the brand reputation and fan base, the effort was aimed at the many previous customers who have already been to the chain, but probably not lately. Recently, the franchise has upped its game with a wider food selection and upgraded more comfortable interiors.

In fact, the TV campaign supporting the effort emphasizes the rowdiness of the typical sports bar as well as the tedium of burrito bar lunches. The campaign went nationwide in TV spots yesterday and will be supported by in-venue signage, coasters, point of sale, etc.

Users will upload their photos, and Skiver and co. will scrape the social nets for the best UGC and collect them at a Step Into Awesome. Fans will vote for their favorite awesome moments shared by others.

According to Skiver, the research also revealed that customers associated a Hooters visit with liberation. Freeing a consumer from boredom or obnoxious foam-handed sports nuts became the theme. Well, maybe -- but I suspect the “liberation” theme is also tied to a bit of rednecked nose-thumbing at political correctness.  

It is a cool idea in leveraging people in a venue to advertise the venue. It uses the environment itself as the creative and the message, recruits the mobile device and clientele as messenger.   

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