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Olive Garden drives foot traffic with continuous mobile advertising push

The company is running the mobile advertising campaign within Moviefone’s iPhone application. Olive Garden has used different forms of mobile advertising in the past to drive consumers to its locations.

“Olive Garden has pinned what mobile marketing is all about with the ad for a limited time only special,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis, Atlanta.

“They have placed this well to work with a movie – dinner and a movie – with an extremely concise action, a limited time only special with great pricing, leading to a mobilized site that allows consumers to view the menu being offered at the limited pricing, along with the ability to find a restaurant, view the entire menu and nutrition information,” she said.

Ms. Troutman is not affiliated with Olive Garden. She commented based on her expertise on the subject.

Olive Garden did not respond to press inquiries.

On the go dinner
The Olive Garden mobile ad reads “New, 2 for $25 Italian Dinner. Limited Time.”

When consumers tap on the ad, they are redirected to a mobile-optimized site where they can browse the limited-time only menu.

Consumers can browse the appetizers listed such as fried mozzarella, fried zucchini, toasted ravioli, calamari, bruschetta and breadstick dipping sauce.

Additionally, users can browse entrees such as smoked mozzarella chicken, spaghetti with 4 cheese meat sauce and meatballs, eggplant parmigiana, five cheese ziti al forno, ravioli di Portobello and fettuccini alfredo.

The mobile ad campaign is a great way for consumers to learn about the promotion and check out what it entails before they enter an Olive Garden location.

Although the mobile advertising campaign is a smart move for the restaurant chain, it is limited.

Olive Garden could have incorporated a store locator feature to help consumers find the nearest location.

Past efforts
Olive Garden has been bolstering its presence in the mobile space for some time now.

Last year, Olive Garden ran a campaign that promoted the company’s never-ending pasta bowl and encouraged consumers to try it at any of its locations (see story).

Most recently, the company made a bigger investment in mobile with an initiative that used video and an optimized site to entice consumers to try its limited-time-only menu items (see story).

“The ad overall is very well done, a few things that could make this a top mobile ad would be a contest, or ‘sign up for additional offers’ piece that would allow Olive Garden to capture the clicks through the ad in order to build a targeted base of consumers,” Ms. Troutman said.

Final Take
Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York