DQ's Waffle Treats On Blizzard Pace

With summer not even here yet, Dairy Queen's new waffle bowl product line is shaping up to be the most successful product launch for the chain since the Blizzard, a near billion-dollar brand that made its debut in 1985.

The first month's rollout of the waffle bowls and cones has generated the highest per-store sales in more than three-and-a-half years, said Chief Brand Officer Michael Keller. The launch is on track to become a $100- to-$150-million brand this season.

With DQ waffle bowl sundaes selling for an average $3.50, and waffle cones at $2.60, the products average $1 or more less than those of competitors such as Cold Stone Creamery.

"We've been watching waffle bowls for a couple of years now, and decided it was time," Keller said. "We have a value advantage and with gas prices what they are and the economy where it is, we think this can be very attractive to consumers."

Dairy Queen has put $25 million in marketing support behind the launch. It's "Made for Each Other" national TV spots from Grey Worldwide are being supported with a variety of efforts in social media.



A "Freeze/Click/Win" promotion at www.freezeclickwin.com invites visitors to submit photos of themselves with DQ treats. The top 10 photos are posted, and each day the one voted tops by the community wins $500.

A 6-minute variation on the "Made for Each Other" spots featuring a Las Vegas wedding of characters "Waffle Bowl" and "Soft Serve" was posted on YouTube and has drawn 23,047 in its first two weeks.

DQ also created a MySpace page for the brand. The digital initiatives are being promoted on in-store displays, through the 1.3-million member Blizzard Fan Club, and in tags on TV, and radio spots.

"The idea," said Keller, "is to create as much surround sound as possible."

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