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Buffalo Wild Wings cashes in on bowl game sponsorship with an array of activations

Casual dining restaurant and sports bar Buffalo Wild Wings is buoying its brand partnership with college football?s Citrus Bowl with a variety of social media activations.

The reach for social engagement is near ubiquitous in Buffalo Wild Wings? promotion, and include an End Zone Selfie Station, custom Snapchat filters, and a Q&A with the game?s head coaches on Twitter. The campaign accompanying the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl will also include in stadium and in restaurant activations, with a significant amount of overlap between the modules in the form of social media engagements.

"Twitter is the dominant social platform for sports conversations and real-time engagement, and allows us to directly communicate with fans," said Bob Ruhland, vice president of marketing at Buffalo Wild Wings. "While we?ll be sourcing questions for the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl coaches via Twitter, and sharing answers there, we?ll also be posting a compilation of the interviews to Facebook and YouTube."

Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
All Buffalo Wild Wings restaurants will offer a a custom Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl-themed Snapchat filter from December 26 through December 31, which will also be featured in the stadium in Orlando on December 31.

Before the game, Buffalo Wild Wings is hosting a Twitter-sourced Q&A of the teams? head coaches: Bobby Petrino and Ed Orgeron of Louisville and LSU, respectively. Like many other such Q&A?s, the brand risks veering into controversy by engaging with such a large cohort in this way, especially so considering both Louisville?s recent admission of having received leaked plays from a Wake Forest University announcer in the past, and also Mr. Orgeron?s position as LSU?s head coach materializing largely due to LSU favorite Les Miles?s firing earlier this season.

In order to keep things civil, Buffalo Wild Wings should learn from previous mistakes made by subjects of Q&A promotions such as Fifty Shades of Grey author E.L. James and singer Robin Thicke, and moderate the session heavily. This promotion is sure to draw much less controversy, but even one incendiary moment could spread into the wrong kind of virality.

Social promotion
Fans attending the game can also commemorate their Citrus Bowl experience with selfie with thousands of fellow fans at a new End Zone Selfie Station. Located at the south end of the stadium, the will feature an unobstructed panoramic view of the end zone and field, and can be shared via social media.

On Twitter, Buffalo Wild Wings will keep fans updated on all things Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl, with live tweets, gift card and t-shirt giveaways and more using #BWWCitrusBowl.

The game will also feature a halftime performance by award-winning and platinum-selling country music artist Cole Swindell.

The Citrus bowl will pit the No. 20 LSU Tigers against the No. 13 Louisville Cardinals, led by 2016 Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, will be played at 11 a.m. ET on Saturday, December 31, and televised nationally by ABC.

The Citrus Bowl campaign is not the company?s first foray into social media; in fact, it has been a central tenet to its marketing gameplan. Last year, it spearheaded a social campaign called #WingWisdom that branded the casual dining chain as the official hangout of the NCAA March Madness college basketball tournament (see story).

"Social media is the best platform for us to provide access to fans so they feel like they are part of the real-time Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl experience," Mr. Ruhland said. "We plan a Twitter-sourced Q&A with the team coaches, to be shared via video on our social channels, as well as live tweets and gift card and t-shirt giveaways on Twitter using #BWWCitrusBowl. 

"We?re trying to not only connect and engage with fans in the stadium, but all fans following the game in our restaurants, at home or wherever they may be."