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Cinnabon sprinkles mobile coupons, film partnership into latest social sweepstakes

Cinnabon is leveraging a partnership with the upcoming animated film Storks by inviting fans to upload their baby pictures onto Twitter or Instagram for the chance to win a trip to Warner Bros. Studios and receive a mobile coupon for the brand’s newest bite-sized treats, called BonBites.

The bakery chain is taking advantage of the increased audience outreach that cross-partnerships yield by rolling out a film-themed sweepstakes coinciding with the debut of the new Storks movie. Consumers who participate in the brand’s social sweepstakes will also receive a coupon enabling them to try its new BonBites at their local Cinnabon restaurant, showcasing the potency of incentivizing social interaction with complimentary menu items.

“Partnerships with lifestyle, film and entertainment brands help to enhance our brand’s relevance within the pop culture space,” said Jill Thomas, vice president of global marketing at Cinnabon. “Partnerships with Storks, Daddy’s Home, Better Call Saul and others help maintain Cinnabon as an active participant in today’s trending conversations.

“What’s more, partnerships allow us to reach new audiences and increase relevance with existing fans.”

Heating up new products
Cinnabon introduced its newest menu item, BonBites, last week. The bite-sized treats, which are approximately 100 calories each, were created by the Cinnabon research and development team upon discovering that 34 percent of customers are more likely to purchase a dessert if a miniature portion is available.

The bakery chain is promoting the miniature cinnamon buns with a film-themed sweepstakes that leverages its partnership with animated comedy Storks.

Cinnabon is asking consumers to upload their baby photos onto Twitter or Instagram using the #StorksPhotoBon hashtag. Entrants will have the opportunity to win a trip for four to Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles.

Additionally, each individual who enters the sweepstakes will receive a coupon enabling him or her to try BonBites at a local Cinnabon.

“Entrants are encouraged to post their image using the hashtags #StorksPhotoBon and #Sweepstakes,” Ms. Thomas said. “We then direct message a digital coupon link for $3 off our new BonBites CinnaPack.

“Once they click through to the coupon, they can print and take it to any participating bakery to redeem,” she said. “In addition to receiving the coupon, their image will also be digitally framed with our cross-branded Cinnabon/Storks photo frame and sent back to them.”

The sweepstakes ends on October 15.

This strategy may incentivize more consumers to participate in the contest, especially if they plan to stop by a Cinnabon restaurant in the near future.

Instead of only offering entrants the opportunity to win an elusive grand prize, Cinnabon is allocating enough resources to reward each individual for interacting with the brand on social media.

Reward-based applications and sweepstakes are being used by a growing number of marketers.

For instance, Toyota is releasing a new app that rewards consumers who refrain from using their smartphones while driving with mobile coupons, reflecting its efforts to promote driver safety as well as a partnership with Japanese coffee shop chain Komeda (see story).

Casual dining chain Ruby Tuesday also ramped up online traffic ahead of National Cheeseburger Day by inviting consumers to take an interactive mobile quiz to determine which regionally-inspired burger best suits their personality and receive a coupon for a free cheeseburger, redeemable in-store (see story).

Shareable snacks and posts
Cinnabon’s most recent mobile efforts include a focus on shareable snacks – such as the BonBites – as well as shareable social media posts.

Last February, Cinnabon and AMC Networks promoted the second season premiere of the Better Call Saul drama series by inviting consumers to visit a Cinnabon location and snap a selfie with a life-sized cardboard cutout of the main character for a chance to win a prize (see story).

Establishing a strong presence on social media channels is a smart move for any food and beverage chain. If consumers happen to stumble across a Cinnabon post while scrolling through their Twitter or Instagram feeds, they could become more likely to get inspired to pick up some cinnamon buns for dessert later.

“Given that the overwhelming majority of our audience [consists of] millennials and younger, social is the primary channel we use to stay connected with our fans and vice versa,” Ms. Thomas said. “Our fans have deep affection for our brand and generously share those sentiments socially through posts and images.

“Our social channels interact with followers in a very authentic way that I think fan appreciate.”