Blimpie Integrates Digital And Physical Marketing With Anniversary Campaign


Many retailers are improving collaboration between their brick-and-mortar, e-Commerce and marketing departments to create more seamless and consistent experiences across all channels. For some organizations, however, integrating departments can be a challenging process, making successful cross-channel campaigns difficult to achieve. 

Blimpie tackled this integration challenge and saw success with campaigns designed to celebrate the sandwich chain’s 50th anniversary. For the FANmercial and Golden Giveaway initiatives, customers were encouraged to stay engaged with the franchise through social media, email and when visiting the restaurants. To ensure success, different departments within Kahala, the parent company of Blimpie, converged.

“Instead of having to call up an agency and tell them what we wanted to do, we sat around the table together, creating the marketing calendar and executing ideas,” said Courtney Nush, Director of Digital Media at Kahala.


Kahala has an interactive marketing team that discusses different components of campaigns — both online and offline.

“We saw there was a huge opportunity to close the loop and have all digital and in-store efforts complement each other,” added Steve Evans, VP of Marketing at Kahala. “We’re now constantly collaborating.”

As a result of this successful collaboration, Blimpie reported a 34.2% increase in Facebook fans through August 2014, saw a more than 10% boost in memberships to its loyalty eClub and an email conversion rate of 65%.

For the FANmercial campaign, which began in January 2014, Blimpie fans submitted ideas for commercials focused on the chain’s 50th birthday. FANmercials were published and promoted on the Blimpie Facebook page and customers were encouraged to vote for their favorite to win a variety of prizes. More than 11,000 fans voted for their favorite ideas, and the top three concepts were put into production. During the second phase of the campaign, than 34,000 consumers voted for their favorite of the three television spots.

The Golden Giveaway, however, was designed to reward all Blimpie fans by giving them the opportunity to win prizes ranging from food items to a trip to Hawaii. Customers who purchased a combo meal at any location received a scratch-off card to instantly win free food or beverages from Blimpie. Every card also included a unique code that could be entered online for a chance to win the grand prize. Facebook users also had the opportunity to win Blimpie gift cards via a Facebook app. App users also were encouraged to visit a store, purchase a combo and receive a code to win higher-value prizes such as free subs for a year, a Samsung tablet or the trip to Hawaii.

“We took this two-tier approach to engage digital fans, as well as in-store customers,” Nush said. “We want our in-store customers to become digital fans and we want digital fans to eventually become customers.”

Rather than relying on vanity metrics such as “likes,” Blimpie focuses on building more long-term connections with fans, Nush explained. “We’re trying to reach out to fans and customers on a more ongoing basis and reward people who allow us to market to them every day on networks. We want to reward the customers who purchased a combo, but also the people who haven’t purchased from us recently and give them a reason to visit us again.”

Due to the success of the 50th birthday campaign, Blimpie plans to create more initiatives that tie the digital and in-store worlds together.

“We’re really happy to see for the first time that our traditional, in-store point-of-purchase advertising connect to something on a web,” Evans said. “Everything we learned from this campaign will be applied again throughout our 2015 marketing calendar.”


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