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Hooters links loyalty app downloads to NCAA March Madness sweepstakes

Hooters is bringing the heat during college basketball’s March Madness tournament by letting users of its mobile loyalty program increase their chances at sweepstakes prizes that include a trip to the championship game and a chance to throw out the first pitch at a spring training baseball game.

Chances of winning during the casual-dining chain’s celebration of the 2015 NCAA Division I Men’s Championship tournament will be increased when a user joins the HootClub loyalty program by registering online or downloading the mobile app. The campaign points to mobile’s ability to increase the excitement of even highly engaged fans in live-sporting events.

“By offering epic sports experiences, guests are going to try everything they can to increase their chances of winning,” said Andrew Pudduck, vice president of marketing with Hooters of America, Atlanta. “We all know mobile is convenient, easy to use and effective and by integrating it into our marketing campaigns, we’ve found it helps increase interest and engagement across the board.

“We also tend to see HootClub member spikes during promotional periods like these,” he said.

Daily prizes
Through April 6, visitors to are just one click away from winning daily prizes, such as Hooters merchandise and gift cards, plus a chance to win one of four Hooters Hooky Adventures.

First, the consumer joins the HootClub loyalty program by registering online or downloading the mobile application.

Engaging fans in widely watched tournament action.

Then, to track and activate rewards, the user enters into the app a code found on Hooters receipts.

For every $20 spent at participating Hooters locations, one additional entry into the grand prize drawing will be awarded through HootClub.

Members can elevate their HootClub status level from Bronze, Silver or Gold up to Orange.

In addition to tracking loyalty points, the HootClub app includes a Hooters store locator, view of the menu and links to social channels.

The HootClub mobile app is free to download on Google Play, the iPhone App Store or by visiting on a mobile phone browser.

Hooters of America, LLC, is the franchisor and operator of over 415 Hooters restaurants in 42 states and 26 countries.

The chain’s college basketball sweepstakes program is similar to a football-related campaign it held in January. That one included daily prizes and football-related tickets and trips for users of its mobile loyalty program and Web site.

January was busier than usual for football fans, including not only professional football playoffs leading up to the Super Bowl in February, but also the first-ever playoff system for college football.

Restaurants or places to eat, drink and watch the game are among the most likely brands to have robust social media programs around the basketball showcase.

Social media sees heavy usage during major sporting events but especially during college tournaments that involve a multitude of schools filled with mobile-savvy students, academics and professionals.

Followers can engage by adding videos and pictures to their networks and have real-time conversations by live tweeting at events.

Those unable to actually attend the games can get real-time updates via social media. Thus mobile platforms not only inform users about the current happenings but also inspire conversation and engagement.

Driven by a special sense of school pride across the country, March Madness sees fans intently watching the games live on TV and following along online.

Loyalty club
“It’s interesting and a head-scratch that Hooters is asking mobile users to download the app before giving a way into the loyalty club,” said Jeff Hasen, CEO of Gotta Mobilize, a Seattle marketing consulting firm. “A better way would have SMS calls to action on coasters, posters and elsewhere.

Hooters’ loyalty app.

“Everyone texts,” he said. “Not everyone wants another app. They should provide choice, much like they do with the flavors of wings – or so I’m told.”

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York