With more than half of America preferring to drink at home, Applebee's needed to generate a significant amount awareness and excitement for their new Neighborhood Drinks specials to get people in the door. We set out to create digital content that was not only splashy and engaging for our millennial audience, but was able to deliver on our neighborhood ethos of community and positivity. While views and reach were incredibly important, we focused more on content that would generate high engagement and participation, all rallied around the promotion of our Neighborhood Drink specials.
In order to spread the word and get people excited enough to try our Neighborhood Drinks, we created unique social programs to activate our communities from the comfort of their screens. First, we announced the Dollar Zombie cocktail with an 8-hour Facebook Live that asked our fans to work together to help solve some Halloween-themed riddles, each with the chance at a cash prize and our featured cocktail front and center the entire time. The set was built by hand, complete with homemade props and dry ice special effects. We joined forces with an API partner, Telescope, to help bring our livestream to life far beyond the native capabilities of Facebook LIVE allowing us to incorporate onscreen graphics, digital Easter eggs and even a live countdown timer to add that extra element of urgency and gamification. Over the course of the 8 hours, we garnered over 100,000 views and almost 100,000 engagements with an 88% positive sentiment, allowing our digital community have some fun and win some prizes all in the name of our new Neighborhood Drink.
For the next Neighborhood Drink promotion of the Dollar Jolly cocktail, we took all the learnings from our previous livestream and created a sequel activation, this time leveraging the power of our positive community to literally power a tiny, handmade Christmas town complete with a tiny ice skating rink, a tiny carousel, and even a tiny moon and starlit sky. With over 250,000 views and 140,000 engagements with 95% positive sentiment, our online community lit up our whole Jollytown neighborhood for four straight hours turning our Facebook LIVE into the happiest place on the internet, and getting everyone excited about the latest Neighborhood Drink.
The pairing of our two Neighborhood Drink livestreams totaled to more than 350,000 views and 240,000 engagements. By activating our community and creating ways for them to come together in the digital environment in celebration of our Neighborhood Drinks, we were able to translate social engagement into in-store traffic and sales, all while embodying and communicating the positive neighborhood spirit of Applebee's. Happy hour at Applebee's is now more popular than ever, with the Dollar Drink promotions and supporting marketing initiatives being credited as "the game changer that turned the whole business around".