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Wingstop Transitions Outdoor Budget To Fund Branded-Merchandise Focused UGC Campaign

March 20, 2020 Jennifer Chang

Leveraging limited edition swag apparel, Wingstop is recruiting its top fans to become paid brand ambassadors. The popular chicken-wing food chain chose to work with its own fan base instead of investing in new influencer partnerships for its latest campaign. Earlier this month, consumers were invited to visit the Wingstop microsite, wingstopwearable.com, for the chance to snag free Wingstop-branded sweatshirts to show off on their Instagram pages in exchange for some cash. The sweatshirts have already sold out.

Wingstop Takes Billboard Advertising Online With Its Latest UGC Campaign

For a limited time, Wingstop is paying its consumers to be “walking billboards” by wearing the food chain’s ad-inspired gear, which includes sweatshirts with blunt copy such as, “This Is An Ad For Wingstop.” When fans post images of themselves wearing their Wingstop-branded sweatshirts on Instagram, they will receive $10 from Wingstop directly via Venmo. To fulfill their role as paid ambassadors, fans must tag @Wingstop in their Instagram captions and use the hashtag, #ThisIsAnAdForWingstop. Wingstop is also challenging its swagged-up fans to get creative while wearing their Wingstop gear. The most innovative and viral posts may lead to bonus prizes, including $100 gift cards.

White sweatshirts hanging on a rack, "This is an Ad for Wingstop" Photo from Wingstop

Driving Brand Awareness Through User-Generated Content And Custom Merchandise

Shutterstock_1338120278  Food vlogger recording a video

With a UGC-inspired approach, Wingstop is transitioning its traditional outdoor advertising budget to a reinvented indoor billboard concept with a social focus. Turning Wingstop fans into social media advertisements with the use of branded apparel is an innovative strategy that could resonate with consumers. “Our fans are continually asking us to sponsor them and Wearable Billboards draws on this insight, allowing us to engage with brand loyalists in a way that only Wingstop can,” said Christina Clarke, Chief Marketing Officer of Wingstop.

Although Wingstop is designing their apparel to act as billboards, they are not the only fast food brand connecting with consumers by launching a line of branded apparel. In 2017, Taco Bell teamed up with Forever 21 to create a custom collection of sweatshirts, t-shirts and hoodies. Taco Bell then expanded to an online retail store called, “Taco Bell’s Taco Shop” to offer a larger variety of merchandise to fans. In 2019, McDonald’s launched its permanent online shop, “Golden Arches Unlimited,” to offer McDonald’s lovers merchandise including sweaters, sesame-seed pop-sockets and french fry socks.

Branded merchandise is a creative way for brands to engage with consumers while creating brand awareness. While customers may be excited to show off their loyalty to a brand by wearing some gear, brands can leverage customer loyalty to receive some free advertising. 

How User-Generated Content May Be Affected By Social Distancing

Brands can use UGC to foster a sense of community and connectedness during this time of societal stress, while being respectful of everyone’s change of circumstances. While Americans may be isolated physically during this period of social distancing, brands have the opportunity to engage with consumers through social media with fun, creative and collaborative content, as more consumers are driven online for social interaction.

Looking For New Opportunities To Engage With Your Consumers?

Digital Media Solutions® (DMS) builds people-based marketing strategies that connect with tightly defined audiences across the digital media universe to build brand awareness, boost engagement and drive conversions.

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About the Author

Jennifer Chang

After receiving her Bachelor’s Degree in Media Communications from the University of Delaware, Jennifer Chang embraced the world of all things media and digital marketing. Beginning with an internship at McCann Health New Jersey, Jennifer analyzed data and statistics for clients’ websites, researched competitors and conducted market research. Finding a natural fit in Digital Media Solutions (DMS), Jennifer joined the team as a Marketing Strategist, where she uses her high motivation and keen eye for detail to provide support on division-specific marketing campaigns and various advertising lead generation initiatives. She is also a valuable contributor – both writing and editing – for DMS Insights, and enjoys working alongside a team of like-minded individuals.

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