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Buffalo Wild Wings ties real-time information, location into banner ads

Buffalo Wild Wings is mixing up its mobile advertising strategy with a banner ad campaign that pulls in real-time information and geofencing to spark up some engagement with March Madness fans.

The sports bar chain’s mobile ads are running within the CBS News iPhone application. Messaging within the ad changes based on how close a consumer is to a location and which teams are playing in the National Collegiate Association’s Men’s basketball tournament.

“By leveraging mobile’s unique ability to reach users at real-time moments in time, restaurants like Buffalo Wild Wing’s have the ability to provide users with key information to come in-store whether it be a new menu item or specials,” said Monica Ho, senior vice president of marketing at xAd, New York.

“Although this type of impact is hard to track, we do have proof from other studies that there is brand awareness lift from these type of campaigns as well,” she said.

Ms. Ho is not affiliated with Buffalo Wild Wings. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.

Buffalo Wild Wings did not meet press deadline.

Building up buzz
The ad’s copy shows how far away a Buffalo Wild Wings location is and reads, “Now playing. See who’s playing.”

What is interesting about Buffalo Wild Wings’ campaign is that the ads’ messaging changes based on which college teams are playing games in real-time.

For example, the ad’s copy showed Creighton vs. Baylor on Sunday when the two teams squared off in San Antonio, TX.

Running location-based ads during a big event such as March Madness is nothing new for a sports bar, but the game day-related content does make the ad a bit more interactive.

Underneath the information on the two teams, a big button prompts consumers to find a nearby restaurant. A click-through on the ad leads consumers to a page that plots the closest three locations on a map.

Each location can then be zoomed in on to view street-level directions.

Location-based mobile advertising has paid off for Buffalo Wild Wings in the past, too.

A presentation from a Buffalo Wild Wings executive last year at the IAB Mobile Marketplace said that a location-based ad increased purchase intent by 45 percent (see story).

At the same time, new research indicates that advertisers would likely benefit from simply getting in front of mobile consumers as more sports content moves to smartphones and tablets.

New research from Omniture and Conviva found that there has been a 74 percent increase in mobile live streams of games this year compared to last year.

At the same time, the amount of video content that consumers are watching is also growing. Omniture and Conviva’s research found that there has been a 39 percent increase in the length of mobile video year-over-year.

The location part of Buffalo Wild Wings’ ad

Revamping in-store experience
In addition to advertising, Buffalo Wild Wings also uses mobile inside restaurants.

Most recently, the chain rolled out in-store tablets to all of its U.S. locations, and consumers can use them to place orders and play games.

Additionally, the brand launched a mobile app in August that leverages augmented reality to unlock additional in-store content (see story).

“In the case of March Madness, marketers are seeing this as an amazing opportunity to extend their reach to specific audiences and demographics during the game to increase awareness of their products and services or even in an effort like the Buffalo Wild Wings example to actually drive traffic in-store,” Ms. Ho said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York