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Special Project

Special Project
From the 12th Annual Shorty Awards

Free the Burger

Entered in Multi-Platform Campaign


In 2019, VERB Interactive and Umami Burger partnered to re-launch the Umami Burger brand. Using the release of a new menu as a hook to re-engage with fans and target new customers,  in November 2019, VERB was tasked with executing a multi-platform campaign to build brand awareness, get new menu items into the hands of customers, and begin to build customer relationships through extensive community management efforts. 

Named “Free the Burger Day,” our goals for this campaign were to:

Strategy and Execution

To drive foot-traffic, online referrals, and follower engagement, we decided to offer one free burger and fries per customer—including a plant-based option—at 13 participating Umami Burger locations on November 15, 2019, as well as the opportunity to win free burgers for a year via an Instagram contest. 

To build excitement around the new menu launch and “Free the Burger” event, we used teaser posts and stories on Facebook and Instagram four days out from the event and invited followers to participate via a Facebook Event. The day before the event, we announced the #UrYummy contest to drive participation. 

VERB also cross-promoted the event with sbe (owners of Umami Burger), using their e-newsletter to send an email blast outlining the event and contest to their subscriber group, as well as an event-branded hero image on select sbe hotel websites.

In the week leading up to the event, we boosted and sponsored ads on Umami Burger’s social platforms and geofenced the locations, as well as competitor locations, to target prospective/existing customers with “Free the Burger” ads. To complement these efforts and increase web traffic, we created a landing page with event details that also announced a limited-number of BOGO coupons available to “Free the Burger” day customers. All email, social, print and digital efforts linked to this landing page, along with updated Google My Business listings that advertised the event and locations. 

On November 15, we continued to push the campaign, relying on organic and paid social media as our main sources of promotion. Using organic content (Instagram stories, Instagram and Facebook posts), digital display, geo-targeted and paid social ads, and 1:1 community management, we drove viral content and long lines at Umami Burger locations for the entirety of the activation. To amplify our reach and gather user-generated content, we also encouraged customers to use our branded hashtag, #UrYummy, to enter to win a year’s worth of Umami Burger. 

The day of the event, meticulous community management was our primary strategy. VERB’s team engaged with new and returning customers by sharing relevant tagged Instagram stories, recommending menu items to customers, and ensuring no comment or tag went unaddressed. To build additional content, we also outsourced professional videographers to capture video of the line ups and counter service, which we then posted to Instagram Stories to continue promoting the event throughout the day. 

Additionally, we used traditional media and PR to drive awareness and extend our reach. Targeting news outlets local to Umami Burger locations in Southern California, Northern California, Chicago, and New York City with a press release, we drove readers to Umami Burger locations, social accounts, and website.  

After the “Free the Burger” campaign, we released a branded video to Umami Burger’s YouTube channel highlighting the new menu items and then chose a winner for the contest, which we announced on social. The BOGO coupons provided to select “Free the Burger” participants also extended the life of this campaign with a call to redeem before December 15, 2019.


Pre-event promotion resulted in:

Leading up to the event, we saw media mentions from: 

During the campaign, our social and digital channels saw: 

On November 15, Umami Burger locations saw:

Post-campaign, we saw sustained growth in:




Video for Free the Burger

Entrant Company / Organization Name

VERB Interactive, Umami Burger


Entry Credits