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Cinnabon swirls up selfie contest before Better Call Saul premiere

Cinnabon and AMC Networks are promoting the second season premiere of the Better Call Saul drama series by inviting consumers to visit a Cinnabon location and snap a selfie with a life-sized cardboard cutout of the main character for a chance to win a prize.

As fans of the Breaking Bad spinoff series gear up to watch the season two premiere of the highly-anticipated drama next week, Cinnabon is swirling up action on social media to alert consumers of its all-day coffee giveaway while offering a chance to win a fan getaway to the television program?s set. Both brands are likely to enjoy a spike in awareness as Instagram and Twitter users excitedly upload their photos with Saul, showcasing how beneficial cross-partnerships really are.

?Selfies have proven that they have real staying power ? people love them!? said Jill Thomas, vice president of marketing at Cinnabon, Atlanta. ?Calling upon fans to take selfies with the in-store standee of Saul ? posing as his post-Breaking Bad, alter-ego Cinnabon manager ?Gene? ? is a fun way to celebrate our partnership with AMC, while also encouraging engagement with our brand both in the physical world and online.

?As expected, our fans are having a lot of fun with the contest.?

Roping in relevance
The collaboration is kicking off on a relevant note, which many fans will discover when watching the season two opener of Better Call Saul. In the first episode, Saul will resurface as his undercover persona, Gene, masquerading as a Cinnabon bakery manager in Nebraska.

To celebrate the new season, which airs at 10 pm ET on February 15, Cinnabon is encouraging all consumers to stop by one of its locations to receive a complimentary cup of coffee. The chain will be distributing the free beverages all day on Monday.

However, Cinnabon is going one step beyond a standard giveaway by leveraging a selfie contest to pique customers? interest even higher. From now through Feb. 22, fans of the AMC drama program are invited to take a picture with the life-sized cardboard cutouts of Saul that will be placed in Cinnabon restaurants.

Consumers should strike a pose with him, snap a selfie, and upload it to Twitter or Instagram via the #SaulSelfie hashtag. One winner and a guest will be chosen to enjoy a fan getaway to the show?s hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico. They will also be able to attend a Better Call Saul event.

Cinnabon claims its customers had an overwhelmingly positive response to the brand?s first appearance in the debut season of the AMC show, which prompted the bakery chain to continue its relationship with the television network.

Consumers who visit a Cinnabon location for a sticky bun or other sweet treat will now be able to enjoy the Saul cardboard cutout, further augmenting their experience. Fans have already begun uploading their selfies to social media and creating clever captions to delineate their excitement for the series.

?This has the makings of a smart way to raise awareness of the brands,? said Joshua Keller, CEO of Union Square Media, New York. ?I?m sure they have to balance being clever with whoever is actually willing to pay for this type of promotion. 

?When it comes to marketing on social media, the key factor is positioning the campaign to have a shot at becoming viral so that people feel compelled enough to participate in the call-to-action and pass it along. We?ve seen this happen with instances such as the Ice Bucket Challenge, which after going extremely viral, drew major awareness to the cause supporting ALS awareness.?

Enhanced brand awareness
Both companies are well-poised to experience a surge in brand awareness from the partnership. Better Call Saul fans will likely be inspired to visit their local Cinnabon to snap a photo with the popular titular character, while Cinnabon customers who spot the cardboard cutout may be prompted to watch the season two opener on Monday night.

Tapping into pop culture has historically been a smart strategy for quick service marketers, especially those seeking to market to a millennial audience.

Cinnabon?s competitors have also sweetened up their loyalty programs in a bid to keep customers coming back.

Last year, fellow bakery chain Auntie Anne?s rewarded members of its My Pretzel Perks mobile app and fueled app downloads as well as store visits by offering users a free Original or Cinnamon Sugar Pretzel to commemorate National Pretzel Day during the weekend of April 24-26 (see story).

?Constant innovation at Cinnabon doesn?t stop at the test kitchen,? Cinnabon?s Ms. Thomas said. ?As part of our continuous efforts to connect with our guests when and where they want us, we are absolutely looking to continue leveraging mobile as a way of keeping the brand fresh, relevant and in-line with our guests? need and desires.

?This is evidence by our burgeoning social presence of over 1 million followers, including an ever-growing fan base on newer channels such as Snapchat and Periscope.?