Fransmart Blog

Celebrity Influence On Restaurant Franchise Branding

Posted by Staff on Feb 13, 2012
Celebrity endorsements are powerful ammunition in the marketing world.  Everyone wants to live like the stars, even if that just means wearing the same kind of sneakers or eating at the same pizza joint.  You do not need to be a mega brand like Pepsi or Nike to utilize the power of the celebrity endorsement.  Here are some PR tips to making something out of nothing when it comes to press, and examples from some of the emerging food franchise brands in Fransmart’s portfolio.

1)  Hire a PR company.  This is a smart move, even if you think your brand is small enough to manage its own PR.  A professional PR firm will have more connections to get the right people in your doors and talking about your brand, and will also be able to pitch these stories to media.  Elevation Burger recently hired Maloney & Fox, (the same PR company with the LinkedIn account) to leverage their brand messaging.


2) Create buzz around your events, such as grand openings. A PR company can help here too. For the L.A. opening of Freshii, the brand got Ryan Seacrest and Ashton Kutcher to tweet about it. Something as simple as this allows you to reach a huge fan base (Ryan Seacrest and Ashton Kutcher have over 15 million followers combined on Twitter), getting the word out that much faster.


3) Supply food to an event. If you cater a charitable event, a radio or TV station party, or a number of other things where celebrities will be present, it will be more than easy to get a quick snapshot of a celebrity digging into your food.

Example 1: zpizza catered the 2011 Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Awards where there was a picture taken of Modern Family’s Rico Rodriguez next to the box and logo.

Example 2: Elevation Burger catered lunch to a radio station where Danny Bonaduce was DJing, and he was quoted as calling it the “Best Burger he ever had”!


4) Open in the “big” markets, and practice 4 walls execution. The “big” markets being NYC, LA, Miami, Las Vegas and D.C. – also known as “critical areas”. The press loves these areas and they are where celebrities are most likely to be found. However, simply planting yourself in one of these locations is not enough. You have to be a standout – exceptional product, cool environment and excellent customer service – in order to get people in your doors and keep them there. Examples of where this has helped food franchises retain notable clientele are Michelle and Barack Obama being photographed in Five Guys Burgers & Fries, and Shawn Springs, formerly of the Washington Redskins, openly speaking in an interview about loving Elevation Burger (while eating at an Elevation Burger) – both in D.C. A quote from People Magazine talks about Megan Fox eating at Freshii in L.A.:


“A solo Megan Fox grabbed a healthy lunch at Freshii in L.A. The actress stopped into the chain's South Fairfax Avenue location, where she ordered a customized wrap for herself and was "really sweet to the staff," an onlooker says.” – People Magazine


And finally, Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliffe mentions in an interview with MTV that he thinks zpizza is the “Best Pizza in New York”.


5) Help out with a celebrity's charity or organization. Here you strike double the marketing gold. While giving back, doing something worthy and contributing to your company’s social responsibility, you are also bound to receive props from appreciative celebs who want to encourage people to contribute to their causes – and a little cross-promotion never hurt anyone!


Example 1: Christy Turlington tweeted a ‘Thank You’ out to Fransmart after we donated to her Every Mother Counts cause (see photo).

Example 2: Pro Skateboarder Tony Hawke sent out a promotional tweet for Flippin’ Pizza, who is a long time supporter of his foundation.


These are things which you can post onto your website and social media sites, showing all your followers what great company you keep.


Utilize every bit of celebrity publicity you can – in a celebrity obsessed culture, this is the mother of all PR. With Twitter, and news platforms such as TMZ that are round-the-clock eyes, celebrities are more accessible than ever and having one seen with your product is not impossible.

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