Auntie Anne’s Twist on Multichannel Campaigns

In celebration of its 25th birthday and the introduction of its new Honey Whole Grain Pretzel, Auntie Anne’s is rolling out a new multichannel campaign to boost customer engagement and sales.

“Part of this multichannel approach that’s so great is that there’s something in it for everybody,” says Matt Simon, director of marketing of Auntie Anne’s. “Everyone can be rewarded. Everyone can have a reason to try the brand.”

The pretzel prodigy partnered with digital engagement company ePrize to launch the integrated campaign. Meredith Hillman, VP and account director of ePrize, says multichannel campaigns are a necessity when it comes to encouraging consumers to engage.

“Multichannel is really essential today to allow consumers to participate in the best way they feel comfortable, and having an in-store presence is that perfect marriage,” Hillman says. “Today having a multichannel approach is really essential in any campaign.”

However, going multichannel for the Honey Whole Grain Pretzel launch isn’t the only new item on Auntie Anne’s marketing menu. For the first time Auntie Anne’s is providing in-store QR codes that lead to its new mobile-optimized site. Hillman says this mobile strategy enables easy engagement between the brand and its target consumers: moms.

“Given our target consumer is moms with kids with a very busy lifestyle…we want to make sure that, for a launch of this size, we don’t rely on them to just be in the mall,” Simon says. “It was critical for us to make sure that when they’re in the mall by the store, the product comes out clear, they know it’s there, [and that] they can sample it. It’s when they’re out of the mall…that, through all these other touch points in their life, Auntie Anne’s can bring the product to them, so that we have more opportunities to make them aware of the product and get them in-store to try it.”

To get more customers to taste the new healthy pretzel, Auntie Anne’s is hosting Sampling Saturdays on the day of the week Hillman says Auntie Anne’s experiences the most in-store traffic. In addition to receiving free samples, customers can scan QR codes, text keywords, or obtain decoder cards for in-store discounts they can redeem.

“Our founder truly believed that if you give a consumer a sample of Auntie Anne’s,  not only will you make their day better [and] make them happy, but they just fall in love with the product, they’re going to buy it, and they’re going to be a consumer for life,” Simon says.

To celebrate “25 pretzel perfect years,” Auntie Anne’s is also hosting a $25,000 sweepstakes. In addition to the monetary prize, consumers can win an iPad mini, a $25 Visa gift card, or Coca-Cola—a primary sponsor—for a year. Consumers can view an Auntie Anne’s blog or digital banner ad or submit their email addresses via the Auntie Anne’s website to enter the sweepstakes.

“We wanted to make sure that, during this three-month introductory period, it was very sustainable, engaging, and had touchpoints throughout the whole time,” Simon says. “[The sweepstakes] allows people to get involved early and then, because you can have multiple entries…it allows consumers to stay engaged and stay involved.”

After registering for the sweepstakes, participants are invited to take a stab at making the perfect pretzel in an interactive game. “The game is an engagement driver. We’re looking for [customers] to do more than just visit the site; we wanted them to interact with the brand,” ePrize’s Hillman says. “The brand promise is ‘the pretzel perfect’ and that [Aunt Annie’s]actually bakes everything fresh….That was an important message for them to get out.”

Hillman adds that building a campaign centered on engagement drives brand loyalty. “I think the key is to really understand the brand so that these consumers become loyal beyond just the chance to win, and that they’re actually consumers who are now brand lovers of Auntie Anne’s,” Hillman says. “It’s important to teach them about the brand, but in a way that makes it fun.”

Simon says Auntie Anne’s campaign objectives include selling one million Honey Whole Grain Pretzels and obtaining 100,000 unique sweepstakes registrations by the end of the three-month campaign. According to Hillman, Auntie Anne’s has already obtained more than 15,000 registrations since its January 7 launch.

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