Post the COVID boom, Checkers traffic and sales were trending down and continued to be down -6.56% YoY while category sales for large competitors were rising. Checkers needed something to get back on diners’ radar beyond the usual LTO activity.
With a fraction of the budget of our QSR competition, we have to be selective with the moments we chose to engage in. Fries – the one menu item we are truly recognized for – is an opportunity we simply cannot let pass by. But everyone has fries…ours are better (facts), but they are a side, not the usual star of the bag, which makes it even more challenging for us to cut through.
Our typical Checkers diner tends to be younger, more diverse men of lower socioeconomic status. They come to Checkers for true value. It’s not just about cheaper food, but craveable, abundant, flavorful food (we pride ourselves on never having introduced salads) at attainable prices.
This core audience knows and LOVES our fries.
Our objective was to drive traffic via an exchange: a signature on our petition to change National French fry day for a coupon for free fries on the real FryDay (Friday).
It hit all the beats we needed to hit:
It made people aware and engaged in our cause.
It drove traffic to the restaurants
It got our hero menu item into diners’ hands
It helped secure signatures we needed to change the day.
When we recognized that National French Fry Day did not always fall on a Friday every year, we knew something had to be done about it. As the undisputed king of French fries, Checkers was in the unique position to advocate for a better FryDay for all French fry fans moving forward. All we had to do was change the mind of a single person: Marlo Anderson, the keeper of the National Day Calendar. Marlo Anderson is the mastermind behind creating national holidays with the slogan “celebrate every day.” We set out to get his attention two weeks leading up to National FryDay with a hyper-targeted campaign directed solely at him. We bought personalized ads on his talk show, and flooded his town with personalized OOH, even having a banner at his favorite coffee shop.
In social we posted fun, light-hearted content directed at him so the public could also get involved in the conversation and sign our petition. Through the Checkers app we pushed notifications to our loyal fanbase to participate as well.
All elements directed consumers to the URL FrydaytoFriday.com, the home of our petition that offered a coupon for free fries to signers.
When launched we had thought Marlo would not answer, so once he started engaging with us on Facebook, we pivoted to plan to meet him in his hometown of Mandan, ND for an emergency press conference to announce to the world that National FryDay would forevermore be on a Friday. We sent the Fry-Love-Express food truck down to Mandan to introduce Checkers to the small town it had taken over advertising in, even attracting CBS for an interview.
The campaign made people aware and engaged in our cause with 701.6M PR impressions and 22.97M social impressions, drove traffic to our restaurants, got our hero menu item into diners’ hands with 51K coupon downloads and helped secure signatures we needed to change the day.
Thankfully we can all rest easy knowing we won’t face this atrocity again.
Thank you, Marlo. Thank you, French fries. Thank you, America.
National Fryday will now always be on a Friday.