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White Castle bridges social media, in-store with verbal hashtags

By requiring hungry consumers who want to partake in special food items and giveaways to say the phrase “hashtag My Crave” when ordering inside a location or at the drive-thru, White Castle is moving beyond digital brand awareness into physical consumer engagement tactics with its mobile strategy.

White Castle has introduced “The Crave is a Powerful Thing” campaign, a month-long promotion that enables traditional one-way push message marketing to become an interactive marketing tool. Throughout May, the first 100 Cravers to order from the restaurant via counter or drive-thru on Wednesdays will be rewarded with prizes and food items when saying the phrase, “hashtag My Crave.”

“The Crave Is A Powerful Thing campaign allows us to put our Cravers at the forefront as we give them a  platform for sharing,” said Lynn Blashford, director of marketing at White Castle, Columbus, OH. “Through the hashtag we are aggregating what Cravers are conveying through social media channels onto

“The power of the crave resides with our Cravers and we just relish being a conduit for Cravers to share their love, and most are doing so through their mobile devices,” she said.

Craving communication
White Castle is embracing stories from its diners with the chance to share memorable content showcasing their hankering for the Castle’s Original Slider.

In addition to the in-person call-to-action, selected guests who demonstrate their love digitally by using the hashtag on social media will also win surprise giveaways.

May also celebrates the 14th annual “Cravers Hall of Fame Contest,” with customers able to boast on about the efforts they have pursued to satisfy their slider satiations. The stories that demonstrate the best relationship with White Castle will give lucky fans a chance to attend the Hall of Fame induction ceremony this fall in Columbus, Ohio.

The contest runs through July 31.

Over 7,645 people tried for the hall since 2001. But only 170 have been inducted

From consumers to Cravers
White Castle labels its customers “Cravers.” According to White Castle, a Craver is more than just a diner, but a state of being the chain describes as “going beyond, staying up and driving far. It’s road-tripping two hours just to reach the nearest sack of sliders. And it’s coaching friends what to order, how to eat it and then how to best stack the boxes. It’s something that embraced and then handed down from generation to generation.”

Hoping to touch these customers while they are out and about, “The Power of the Crave” incorporates technology to raise awareness of a shared experience via social mobile.

While other brands attempt to drive action by sticking a QR code on printed material, White Castle recognizes that consumers need as many entry points as brands can give.

Bridging offline with online can drive deeper brand experiences. White Castle is seemingly jumping on this trend and improving the way it tells its story through these technologies.

In correlation, to celebrate Mother’s day on May 11, White Castle is rolling back the prices on sliders to what they would have cost if it were the 1980’s. A case of 10 Original Sliders will be just $2.50, but can only be purchased online with the promo code MOM to receive the offer.

White Castle’s whole diner experience for the month of May is centered on a content marketing strategy that releases new social mobile experiences and on location prompts every week that are continuously filling the content well.

“Who hasn’t had a craving? Craving a special food or taste is pretty much a universal truth that everyone can relate to,” Ms. Blashford said.

“You can’t find a Castle on every corner in America at this point so satisfying the crave with Sliders hot off the grill is not always very accessible,” she said. “That only adds to intensify the craving and why some people will drive to great lengths to our restaurants, or may do ‘crazy little things’ to satisfy their crave.”

Final Take:
Michelle is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York