Advertising Strategies and Lessons


Olive Garden Leverages Multimedia Digital Campaign To Introduce Lifetime Pasta Pass

August 15, 2019 Charlene Sterphone

olive garden

Pasta lovers, rejoice! Olive Garden announced that on August 15, they will introduce a Lifetime Pasta Pass. The new offering comes with the return of their Never Ending Pasta Pass, now in its sixth year. The Never Ending Pasta Pass costs $100 and provides customers with nine weeks of unlimited pasta. For an additional $400, Olive Garden aficionados have the opportunity to upgrade to the Lifetime Pasta Pass, providing them with unlimited pasta, salad and breadsticks for life.  

Pasta Pass Scarcity Turns Olive Garden’s Online Sale Into A Full-Scale Event

olive garden

Interested customers can visit, currently featuring a down-to-the-second countdown timer, to purchase one of 24,000 Never Ending Pasta Passes. The “waiting room” will open at 1:55 PM ET on August 15, with the sale launching at 2pm ET. The passes will be available for up to 30 minutes or until they sell out, which only took seconds last year.

Customers purchasing the Never Ending Pasta Pass will have the opportunity to opt in for potential upgrades to the Lifetime Pasta Pass, with only the first 50 eligible customers able to snag the coveted passes. Olive Garden created an FAQ video to provide prospective buyers with tips for scoring Lifetime Pasta Passes.

Olive Garden Leveraged Social Media To Engage Customers With An Interactive Campaign

olive garden instagram

Olive Garden built anticipation by teasing the upcoming pasta pass sale on their social media channels. In their July 30 Facebook post, Olive Garden encouraged their followers to do some “spaghetti sleuthing” by allowing them to explore an Olive Garden workstation via a Facebook 360 photo. The post garnered more than 4,000 comments with fans collaborating to piece together clues including a calendar, clock, calculator and computer screen with partially obstructed emails displayed. Olive Garden responded to commenters, letting them know when they were on the right track regarding details for the Pasta Pass unveiling.

Olive Garden’s Lifetime Pasta Pass launch offers several valuable lessons for marketers. By building on previous Pasta Pass successes, Olive Garden engaged their core audience and generated buzz via their gamified social media clues to reach a larger audience with a bigger and better offering. Olive Garden’s Pasta Pass sale also offers the chain an opportunity to collect first-party data on their biggest fans and ambassadors, providing them with “endless pastabilities” both in the short and long term.

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About the Author

Charlene Sterphone

Charlene Sterphone, Director of Marketing A focused and highly motivated creative thinker, Charlene Sterphone develops, executes and reports on strategic marketing programs surrounding lead generation, paid search, email, social media, mobile targeting, SEO and compliance as Director of Marketing for Digital Media Solutions (DMS). Throughout her diversified marketing career, Charlene has spent time in both the agency and direct corporate and start-up settings, including positions at Sparkroom, Education Dynamics and CBS Corporation, where she has seen success with digital and traditional marketing campaigns. As an analytical marketer, Charlene enjoys discovering new and innovative tools and techniques and using them to drive growth.

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