Arby's launches social media campaign to promo value LTO

Arby's is using its first social media campaign to promote a new limited-time-offer sandwich designed for its value meal. The Junior Deluxe debuts this weekend, with a giveaway-with-purchase offer on July 5.

The Junior Deluxe is essentially an Arby's Junior sandwich — already featured on the value menu — topped with tomato, lettuce and mayonnaise on a toasted sesame seed bun. The sandwich will be available for a limited time, and the company will evaluate whether to add it to the regular menu, said Bob Kraut, senior vice president of advertising and communications at Arby's Restaurant Group.

The July 5 giveaway offer features a free new Junior Deluxe sandwich with any drink purchase, excluding value drinks and coffee, throughout the day at participating Arby's locations nationwide. This offer is limited to one per person while supplies last. Consumers will need to ask for their free Junior Deluxe with drink purchase to receive the offer.

To make sure everyone hears its value message, Arby's is covering as many media channels as possible, including social media. The company's social media plan includes giving more attention to its Facebook page — which has about 58,000 "Likes" — including a giveaway that will reward its first 50 new Likes with a $5 Arby's gift card.

Arby's also has launched its first official company Twitter account, @Arbys. Arby's is one of the last major quick-service brands to add Twitter to its marketing platform, leaving only Burger King still holding back. Kraut said the company felt the time was right as consumers are using a wide variety of media channels for entertainment and communication.

"With all the different media choices, there's never been a time when it's been more challenging to communicate with people because there are so many different forms of media," Kraut said. "But how we're looking at it here at Arby's is that there's never been time when it's actually been easier to reach people because we know where they are, and it's a matter of us doing the outreach."

In addition to social media promotions, Arby's will promote its July 5 Junior Deluxe giveaway with an ad in USA Today, homepage takeovers on FoxSports.com and Delish.com, banner ads on various MSN sites and in-store point-of-purchase materials. The company also has sent "Save the Day" alerts to its mobile members, reminding them to set a reminder on their PDAs for the giveaway.

The company will launch a television ad on July 18 that gives a little insight into Arby's demographic. The company has found that Arby's value menu customers tend to be part of a group, Kraut said. So the ad features a dad taking his family to Arby's for the value menu, proud he could please the family and save some money.

Kraut said the ad features a father rather than a mother, the typical meal decision maker, because dads tend to make the meal choice at Arby's. The ad will close with an Arby's first (and likely for the QSR market): A "follow us on Facebook and Twitter" signoff.

Other summer menu promotions include two other LTO offerings, the Steakhouse Toasted Sub — featuring crispy onions underneath Arby's roast beef — and the Strawberry Banana Split Shake, touted as the banana split you can drink with a straw.

Value menu building transactions

The new value sandwich promotion helps Arby's generate renewed excitement about its $1 menu, which launched in April. Wendy's/Arby's Group CEO Roland Smith said on the company's latest quarterly earnings call in May that same-store sales had improved somewhat since the launch of the value menu and that trend was expected to continue.

Smith said Wednesday during a presentation at the Oppenheimer & Co. analyst conference that transaction volume was up in April as the company promoted its value offerings, an indication that the company's turnaround plan is working.

Kraut said in an interview that the value menu is resonating with consumers who are continuing to curtail their spending. He reiterated that sentiment at the Oppenheimer conference: "You need to give the people what they want. If they want lower-entry price points, we're going to do that. That is to address a major purchase obstacle that people had for Arby's."

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