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Special Project

Special Project
From the 1st Annual Shorty Social Good Awards

Applebee's #GiveSquad Lifts Holiday Spirits

Entered in Food & Beverage


For those strapped for cash or down on their luck, the sights and sounds that signify the ushering in of another holiday season may evoke feelings of stress rather than joy and goodwill toward men. Imagine telling your children that there won't be any presents under the tree this year or that the job search hasn't been fruitful yet. Those memories stick...

Applebee's wants to help those folks create holiday memories of joy, love and kindness. Three years ago, the large casual dining chain started #GiveSquad. The objective of the GiveSquad is simple – find those who need some extra holiday cheer or that perfect present for a loved one, and send it! Since Santa isn't sharing his list, we hit the social channels to identify those who have been especially nice each year.

The GiveSquad isn't tied to the bottom line and the only Key Performance Indicator is measured in smiles. This is an initiative based solely on the desire to help others in need.

Strategy and Execution

Our busy elves started shopping in November to purchase the "must have" gifts of the year. The GiveSquad's success lies in the dedication of this team to surprise and delight those who need it. We wrap each gift with love and each year, the love grows.

Applebee's social team engages with its community all year long and in December, we kick it into high gear, spreading the word to find those in need. We proactively seek out those who may have recently lost their job, a family with a loved one in the hospital or a small business owner who couldn't afford to give holiday bonuses this year.

We've received incredibly touching stories from single moms who want to surprise their children, to caring communities who want to help a sick neighbor.

The strength of the Applebee's community is so apparent when the GiveSquad gets to work. They support each other, share with each other and help each other.

Additionally, we created ways for our community to give back through GiveSquad missions on There our fans could nominate people in need and get ideas for how to help others during the holiday season. Missions included paying for a person's meal anonymously, picking up a gift card to give to the first person you see, and cleaning out that closet to donate a few things to a shelter.

It's all about making a difference in the lives of families and helping our neighbors. Whether it's sharing a smile, paying a compliment or surprising a child with the year's hottest toy, the GiveSquad's mission is all about changing our world for the better.


Through giveaways, social searches and sorting through tons of submissions on, Applebee's made this year a great one for thousands of people in need.

Not only do we give some of the hottest presents of the year, but we also send tons of Applebee's gift cards! We engaged with brand fans with daily missions to do good in their communities.


Entrant Company / Organization Name

BTC Revolutions, Applebee's


Entry Credits