Arby's Broke the Mold on Social Media Marketing by Going Niche
What makes marketing content memorable? Great production value and original ideas can be great but if it doesn’t hit home with a particular audience then it will still fall flat.
Arby's has been killing the marketing game with clever and conversational social media content. Recognizing a saturated advertising market - pictures of food get boring eventually - they decided to try something completely different. This switch to gaming and pop culture papercraft creations have struck a chord with an audience that may have originally overlooked Arby's.
Traditionally, social media marketing for fast foodservice establishments such as McDonald's and Taco Bell, have not been inspiring models.
Arby’s is trying something different. Here’s one of their latest tweets:
He'd better ring the bell once he reaches level 11 pic.twitter.com/t5ttq1PpGv— Arby's (@Arbys) April 30, 2017
That’s the video game icon Pac Man eating his way through a lighted Arby’s sign. You may be thinking, “Well everyone knows Pacman, Arby’s is just pandering.” But even the tweet copy digs deep into obscure video game lore.
Making reference to ringing a bell when reaching level 11 is not common knowledge. Most identify the flappy mouthed protagonist with his desire to gobble dots and fruit. But not many know that the 11th and 12th levels of Pacman use a bell as the bonus “fruit.”
This level of niche knowledge about something so many fans hold dear is a sign that the creators actually enjoy the same entertainment they do. That is a significant factor when considering in the internet medium that this community interacts within.
Arby’s used to be right along with their competition when it came to traditional Twitter and Facebook content. This was until they realized the market they could tap into if they committed to the concentrated, die-hard, pop culture market.
We heard you were REALLY hungry pic.twitter.com/SfFLIhXNAH— Arby's (@Arbys) November 24, 2016
Who has ever associated Arby’s with gaming? McDonald’s and Taco Bell have once again traditionally claimed those titles of go-to gamer fuel. While Arby’s keeps itself classified between basic and fast-casual, it’s not a restaurant usually associated with a quick fix. At least this used to not be the case.
As more gamers are drawn to the Arby’s social accounts they begin to consider them as a meal option. Most of these people have never talked about, much less to Arby’s and yet now the brand has entered the gaming conversation.
I think we're just getting started pic.twitter.com/m94jgh32S3— Arby's (@Arbys) November 15, 2016
What was once reserved for Taco Bell or McDonalds by default, Arby’s has instead slipped into the fray without any force. Because they are not seemingly desperate for attention they are able to genuinely interact with their customers about their interests and have conversations about how they're "coming to eat there because of these tweets."
The times they are a changin’ when it comes to the social media expectations from the team at Arby’s. The results of Arby’s push for something completely different has landed them with meaningful social media interactions with each update. Updates that have cemented their brand in the minds of a dedicated consumer group as friendly and knowledgable about their interests.
Arby’s isn’t saying, “Here’s some food, come here and eat it.” Instead, they’ve made an offering to something more relatable to friends hanging out, something gamers are very familiar with.
Destination: answers pic.twitter.com/07SO6AuR5h— Arby's (@Arbys) February 2, 2017
Keep in mind this is still marketing. The content creators for Arby’s may genuinely enjoy the material they work with, but the end goal is always customer engagement.
You want to genuinely connect with your customers and a professional creative team can help you realize that potential.