- Chain restaurant Wingstop is running a campaign that pays fans $10 to wear branded merchandise, the company shared with Marketing Dive.
- Wingstop is spending its billboard budget with the intention of turning fans into billboards. Starting on March 9, consumers could visit the Wingstopwearablebillboards.com microsite to register to win a free branded sweatshirt. The shirts sold out within the day.
- Fans that received the sweatshirts in time are encouraged to post photos of themselves wearing the apparel on Instagram and tag @Wingstop with the hashtag #ThisIsAnAdForWingstop in the caption, in exchange for Wingstop sending them $10 via Venmo. Posts deemed innovative or viral by the brand will win tickets to special events.
By investing its billboard budget in a social media push, Wingstop hopes to engage loyal fans with free merchandise and drum up viral brand buzz online.
If the user-generated ads prove popular on Instagram through shares and a wide reach, this could become a more tactical approach to optimizing Wingstop's limited marketing budget than spending on pricey billboards. The sweatshirts have cheeky text playing up the fact that the apparel is an ad: "This is an ad for Wingstop," "This is an ad for Wingstop delivery," and "This is an ad for Wingstop boneless."
The brand has a history of playful campaigns that target loyal fans and encourage user-generated content and online buzz. Last year, Wingstop let fans "video bomb" a commercial for the fast-food restaurant chain in a campaign that blended mobile, social media and out-of-home advertising. For Valentine's Day 2018, the chain created a toll-free hotline to help people improve their romance for the holiday. Fans could call in to talk to customer service reps for advice on the holiday and order a $25 "wing luv kit" of snacks.
The chain also saw success in a viral social media campaign in 2017. Wingstop inadvertently started a Twitter "rap battle" with burger chain Wendy's. The spat started with a Wingstop tweet playing off lyrics from Migos' hit single "Bad and Boujee." A follower replied by specifically calling out Wendy's, whose official brand page responded and set off a series of back-and-forth tweets. Wingstop earned 9 million impressions and 72,000 retweets from the effort.