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T.G.I. Friday’s narrows focus for product push through in-app advertising

TGI Fridays

Casual dining chain T.G.I. Friday’s is running a campaign that targets TV viewers to bolster awareness of the company’s line of frozen foods.

T.G.I. Friday’s is sponsoring a section of the TV Guide iPhone application. T.G.I Friday’s has been actively building its mobile presence in the past year for both marketing and loyalty-building initiatives.

"Consumers generally believe that advertising is a nuisance under normal circumstances. But this banner advertising by T.G.I. Friday's is good work," said Isabella Lin, content Director at Appitalism, New York.

"Consumers will find this app's banner ad very effective and direct advertising is an extremely wise choice," she said. "There is no question that this app sponsorship brings benefit to the brand T.G.I. Friday's."

"Personally, I think T.G.I. Friday's message about frozen foods fit quite right with this ad. This advertising of T.G.I. Friday's is extremely suitable for this activity given the consumer demand."

Ms. Lin is not affiliated with T.G.I. Friday's. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

T.G.I. Friday's did not respond to press inquiries.

Targeted advertising

The T.G.I. Friday’s ad is inside the “Listings” tab in TV Guide’s iPhone app. As users scroll through TV listings, a small, branded banner encourages consumers to check-in to primetime shows.

When consumers tap on the banner, they are directed to the “New Tonight” section of the app.

The small, branded banners

From there, users can browse through a list of TV shows featuring new episodes. The app lets users share shows by posting them to Facebook, Twitter and Yahoo.

Consumers can customize their message inside a T.G.I. Friday’s-sponsored text box.

Additionally, banner ads inside the “New Tonight” section promote the company’s line of frozen snacks.

The banner ads take consumers to the mobile site http://www.fridaysinyourfreezer.com/ — the campaign’s microsite.

Via the site, consumers can learn more about the frozen foods by checking out the products and clicking through photos.

Additionally, a button in the top right-hand corner lets users “Like” the T.G.I. Friday’s Freezer Facebook page to see what others are saying about the brand’s products.

What is great about the campaign is that it includes both subtle ads that are not intrusive and banner ads that let users take a direct action, which helps the brand stay top-of-mind for consumers.

Given that T.G.I. Friday’s frozen food line is targeted at consumers who are at home and plugged into their TV sets, the brand’s sponsorship in TV Guide is effective for the company because of the app’s niche group of users.

The larger banner ads

Mobile past

T.G.I. Friday’s has been ramping up its mobile presence over the past year, especially around payments.

The company rolled out a mobile app that lets consumers place orders and pay their bills in April. The app also integrates T.G.I. Friday’s loyalty program — Give Me More Stripes (see story).

Then in September, the chain announced that it had added 7,500 loyalty program members as a result of the app (see story).

T.G.I. Friday’s has also relied on mobile advertising to help promote the app.

Using multiple mobile touch points is a smart way for T.G.I Friday’s to reach the widest group of consumers possible.

"Just exactly like all other brands of advertising, consumers would prefer never to be interrupted on their phones or tablets with ads," Ms. Lin said.

"And this ad did not interrupt me at all, but there are benefits," she said.

"From a psychological standpoint, most people watch TV at the same time as the habit of eating snacks, which represents leisure and relaxation. The banner ads have a visual impact on consumers, and to attract the consumer's eyeball is the key — this campaign does that and has it all."

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York

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Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer. Reach her at lauren@mobilemarketer.com.

Related content: Food and beverage, Simon Buckingham, mobile marketing, TGI Fridays, Appitalism

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