Creativity in Public Relations » arbys http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal Creativity, marketing, great ideas, smart thinking, public relations, insights, inspirations, innovations and more. (Formerly known as Ryan's View) Wed, 05 Aug 2009 00:52:54 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.2 en hourly 1 Year of Free Continues As Arby’s Serves Up “Upset Burgers” http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/03/18/year-of-free-continues-as-arbys-serves-up-upset-burgers/ http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/2009/03/18/year-of-free-continues-as-arbys-serves-up-upset-burgers/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2009 10:21:17 +0000 Ryan Peal http://blogs.hillandknowlton.com/ryanpeal/?p=534 What is happening in the world this year?  The economy is on the ropes, companies are going out of business and yet, another company announces that it may be giving away free burgers to every American.  Having 2009 be known as the “year of free” as I noted a few weeks back with Quiznos giving away 1 million free subs continues to be in the cards as Arby’s announces it will be giving away free Arby’s Roastburgers if a sports miracle happens this week as part of the US college basketball championships.  If a bottom of the list team pulls an upset and beats a top of the list team in the opening round of the basketball playoffs then Arby’s will join the growing number of companies using “free” as a marketing strategy for success in 2009.

Denny’s, a nationwide fast food chain in the US, gave away more than 2 million “Grand Slam” breakfasts for free after the Super Bowl.  Last year Taco Bell, another nationwide fast food chain in the US, continued its multiple year tradition of giving away free tacos to the country related to a specific event happening in the baseball World Series.  And as mentioned above, Quiznos gave away 1 million free subs last month too.  And my colleague Meghan, a youth marketing guru, also recently highlighted other free offers popping up across multiple categories.

So, is free a smart business strategy?  For companies with products that they can easily give away, its probably not a bad option. Many of these companies would normally give out coupons for similar offers, but have smartly realised they could package up the offer in something more fun that engages and entertains people and gets people talking.  So buzz generation for low-cost items definitely would seem worth it for some companies. And if you connect the free offer to a once-in-a-million chance (like Arbys) then you may even get the publicity without having to give the goods.

But what if you don’t have products that are inexpensive enough to give away for free?  This is where some added creative thinking is needed.  As I referenced recently when talking about No Doubt’s free music catalog promotion for people who buy a concert ticket, if you look around you probably can find some content that may seem boring or normal to you but if packaged up right, could be something your consumer fans would love to get, and get for free.  Once you start looking for it you’ll be surprised at what you can find that can be offered to build some added brand loyalty with fans who should appreciate it, and think its even better because its free.

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