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Applebee’s broadcasts Times Square menu tasting via Periscope

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar is the latest food marketer to leverage Periscope, using Twitter’s streaming application to broadcast a public menu sampling taking place in New York’s Times Square as part of a bigger effort to drive awareness and sales for the new items.

Applebee’s “Taste The Change Fest” will be taking place on May 13, and consists of a street party with special surprises and guest performances to celebrate the restaurant chain’s new menu. Tagged tweets of consumers who are unable to make the event will be displayed on billboards in Times Square, and the event will be broadcast live on Periscope with host Vincenzo Landino, a popular live video personality.

“Applebee’s is amplifying its brand activation through the use of Periscope,” said Melody Wolff, director of accounts at dbray Media, New York. “While they will reach thousands through their Times Square event, they will reach millions through the use of Periscope.

“We are going to see a lot of brands using Periscope in their marketing efforts—this is just the beginning.”

Showcasing menu items
The “Taste the Change Fest” in the heart of New York City will offer passersby samples of the brand’s new Triple Hog Dare Ya sandwich, among other appetizers and meals. Guests will also be able to visit a photo booth and pool hall game room at the event.

Non-New York residents who hope to make it to the party may enter a contest to win a trip for two by tweeting images of themselves eating one of Applebee’s newest menu items and tagging it with the #WatchApplebees and #ContestEntry hashtags.

Other new products include the Brew Pub Philly steak sandwich and All-In Burgers, which feature toppings seared into the patties.

The tweets of remaining entrants will also be aggregated and displayed on a billboard in Times Square between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. This social media blitz will likely result in more users flocking to the hashtags for a chance to be featured in one of the busiest areas of Manhattan.

Applebee’s is also planning to share photos from the event at a microsite,, where fans whose images are showed on the billboard can share them via Twitter and Facebook with the “Applebee’s threw a party in Times Square and I was there!” headline.

On the same day of the event, May 13, anyone dining at an Applebee’s location can tweet an image of themselves holding a Pepsi product for the opportunity to win $100 in Live Nation Concert Cash, which can be redeemed for participating concert tickets and merchandise.

This strategy will likely resonate positively with Applebee’s existing fans that elect to continue a long-lasting relationship with the restaurant chain.

Periscope’s popularity
Consumers unable to attend the party can watch the performances and surprises unfold via the Periscope app on their mobile device. Vincenzo Landino, a Twitter live video personality, is set to host the live broadcast in 30-minute increments throughout the event.

Periscope is becoming a popular communication vehicle for brands to leverage, which greater increases their consumer outreach and builds up more buzz on social media.

“Consumers are asking for richer content,” said Gary Schwartz, president and CEO of Impact Mobile, New York. “Social posting is flat.

“Live is powerful because is has a exclusivity and backstage quality that brands should want to associate themselves with moving forward.”

Taco Bell recently made a special announcement via Periscope, alerting consumers of a Biscuit Taco giveaway on Cinco de Mayo while testing the latest buzzed-about mobile platform’s ability to drive awareness and store traffic (see story).

However, some experts believe that live-streaming services may not be the best bet for food and beverage marketers seeking to ramp up their amount of social shares.

“Meerkat and Periscope are great examples of the new phenomenon of one-too-many-synchronous sharing,” said Joe Matthews, CEO of Tagkast, Chicago, IL. “It’s a new category, so the technology mavens are flocking towards it to try it out.

“As a content marketer, your best bet is to focus on content sharing through Facebook. On a per share basis, the impressions are 50-100x because the sharing is asynchronous.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York