WWTT? Jimmy John’s Wants to Buy You a House

Yes, you read that right. Illinois-based sandwich chain restaurant Jimmy John’s recently launched a campaign that will have possibly anyone who can’t afford a home in 70% of the U.S. clamoring to participate in.

Yes, you read that right. Illinois-based sandwich chain restaurant Jimmy John’s recently launched a campaign that will have possibly anyone who can’t afford a home in 70% of the U.S. clamoring to participate in. The Dream Home in the Zone campaign’s focus is to put a lucky winner into one of their delivery zones, which are determined to be anywhere within a 5-minute radius of one of Jimmy John’s 2,800 locations.

https://youtu.be/56M3uSyPCdI

The basics of the campaign is that if you live outside of a Jimmy John’s delivery zone, you are eligible to enter the contest for up to $250,000 to purchase a home within one of the zones. To do so, you have to provide the usual information of name, address, email address, etc., as well as a mini essay of 250 words explaining why you want to relocate into a Jimmy John’s delivery zone.

According to the official rules, the contest runs from Aug. 12 to Oct. 4, and 500 entries will be selected RANDOMLY. Those 500 entries will then go on to the submission review, evaluation and judging process. Ten finalists will be notified, and then follows the finalists interviews, and from that the final decision will be made, and by the end of the year that lucky winner should be celebrating the winter holidays in their new home … maybe with some celebratory Jimmy John’s sandwiches?

Jimmy John’s worked with its agency of record WorkInProgress on this campaign, and hail it as further support of their mission to only deliver the freshest of sandwiches to customers (something they covered in a previous campaign earlier this year). Hence the delivery zones.

I wonder how many people will apply because they simply want to be home owners, Jimmy John’s delivery zone status or not. Especially amid a housing crisis, winning a contest like this could be make-or-break for a person, couple, or family.

I have a feeling this campaign will carry plenty of buzz around it, and if exposure is enough for Jimmy John’s, then they should get it in spades. But will that turn into ROI? We shall have to see. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

WWTT? IHOP Calls Burgers ‘Pancakes’ and Creates Bancake List

Earlier this month, IHOP decided it was time for another stunt focused on its burger menu, this time referring to burgers as “pancakes” and instituting a Bancake list based off of people who tweeted negatively about the restaurant’s IHOb campaign from 2018.

Earlier this month, IHOP decided it was time for another stunt focused on its burger menu. In 2018, the International House of Pancakes decided a name change was in the cards, and opted to be called IHOb, switching out pancakes for burgers.

I shared my thoughts about this marketing stunt last year, and while the marketing ploy — which wasn’t even a full name change — may have worked, I still think it was pretty lame.

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But now, since so many people gave IHOP “grief” over the IHOb campaign, the restaurant chain has something new up their sleeves.

So …IHOP just continues to double down on weird … and not even the interesting kind.

According to Food Newsfeed, there were over 3.3 million tweets about last year’s stunt, and not all of them were positive. CMO Brad Haley is quoted:

“So, our lead creative agency, Droga5, created a digital experience to engage last year’s naysayers and convert haters into eaters. Those who tweeted something, shall we say, unkind last year may find that they’re on ‘The Bancake List,’ an aggregated list of Twitter users who tweeted at IHOP to stay in its lane.”

Yes that’s right. Not only is IHOP calling burgers pancakes, but they created the website Bancakelist.com. There, you can enter your Twitter handle, and if it comes up that you said something nasty about IHOP and last year’s stunt … well, you can “make it right” by tweeting something nice, and you can receive a “reward.” Because folks, this is how you spend marketing dollars wisely.

IHOP Bancake list IHOP Bancake list

Needless to say … I didn’t send that tweet.

I understand the need to get a customer-base excited about a product, and to market it well. But this continues to be goofy and borderline-dumb. Those burgers look delicious … so why not focus on that? Why call them something they’re not, just to get the public riled up, and institute a Bancake list?

If the response is “Well, it gets people talking?” then my comment is: What’s the ROI of that? Marketers, tell me what you think!

WWTT? The North Face Fails With Wikipedia Stunt

A marketing stunt either pans out and seems like some kind of clever guerilla marketing tactic, or it falls flat, illustrating how poorly a marketer understands good taste, or, well … marketing. And now this week, we can add outdoor retailer The North Face to that list of failed marketing stunts.

A marketing stunt either pans out and seems like some kind of clever guerilla marketing tactic (for example, the Palessi store or Deadpool being in everything last year ahead of Deadpool 2), or it falls flat, illustrating how poorly a marketer understands good taste, or, well … marketing. And now this week, we can add outdoor retailer The North Face to that list of failed marketing stunts.

According to an article on Wikimedia, as well as the Twitter thread that was shared, the outdoor brand The North Face acted as if it had collaborated with Wikipedia (it had not) and replaced images on a variety of Wikipedia pages with those from The North Face … bragging in a video published by Ad Age that the brand had ““did what no one has done before … we switched the Wikipedia photos for ours” and “[paid] absolutely nothing just by collaborating with Wikipedia.”

So, the retailer and its agency lied about a collaboration AND went against the site’s terms of service.

In its “Top of Images” campaign, The North Face aimed to have its images at the top of Google search results pages … and since usually the first images on these pages are from Wikipedia, the retailer decided to photograph its brand in specific locations, and then swap out the original photos on Wikipedia for those with The North Face products and/or branding.

First off, this is shady. Secondly, to produce a video that BRAGS about how slick you were, and then put it out in the world (again, check out that Ad Age link above) … just how dumb did they think Wikipedia and its editor are?

Doing the thing that is against the site’s terms of service and then actively talking about the challenge of getting away with it is not “collaborating.” And it’s certainly not good marketing, or even a clever marketing stunt. The video on Ad Age also states that The North Face “hacked” the results to reach the top of Google … which leads me to believe that The North Face and their agency Leo Burnett Tailor Made don’t know what “hacking” means, and also, again, contradict their own statement about “collaborating” with Wikipedia.

This is sloppy, and feels like a brand trying too hard to attempt guerilla marketing and falling horribly flat. This campaign did nothing but make the retailer look foolish, make the agency look even worse, and earn the ire of Wikipedia and its editors.

The retailer apologized, but honestly, how hard would it have been to think this through and realize it was a bad idea for a marketing stunt? In the tweet above, The North Face states, ” … we have ended the campaign and moving forward, we’ll commit to ensuring that our teams and vendors are better trained on site policies.”

Hey The North Face … not saying that Wikipedia would stoop so low, but you might want to keep an eye on your own Wikipedia page. And have a long chat with your agency.

Marketers, what do you think? Drop me a comment below!