Buffalo Wild Wings was looking for a way to increase traffic and buzz during the winter months, a time of the year when sales tend to dip. With basketball in full swing during that timeframe and with a 20 to 30-something core audience, we connected BWW to basketball and in-restaurant experiences. To do that, we leveraged smartphones, user-generated content and serious competition.

It started with in-restaurant activities (known as “challenges”) that were shared and completed through the location-based mobile app SCVNGR. The challenges were themed around basketball and BWW product offerings, all playing up the brand’s fun persona. The approach effectively added a game layer to every BWW location in the country.

As people took part in challenges, they earned points, which translated to real-life rewards, including a free Coca-Cola, 20 percent off a tab and a free order of wings. The challenges were scripted in such a way that it would require multiple visits to earn points for larger rewards. Part of our goal was increasing foot traffic so scripting this correctly was important.

We took the rewards angle a step further with an additional game layer. The more players competed throughout basketball season, the better shot they had at a grand prize, a trip to the NBA Finals with Scottie Pippen. An online leaderboard allowed players to track their progress against the competition.

The leaderboard also tracked the top BWW locations for activity in the program. The location with the most points won a party for their staff. Incorporating this element helped to get BWW staff telling guests about the program. This proved key for the program’s success. We also used table tents and in-restaurant TV screens to promote the program.

As people took part in the challenges, they shared content with their friends on Twitter and Facebook, helping to extend the reach of the program and the BWW brand. Over the course of the 12-week program, it generated 118 million social impressions thanks to all that sharing.

The program was successful on another important level–repeat traffic. One in three people who played came back to a BWW location to play again during the program.

The media took notice in a big way and this program also racked up several awards, including the Promo Pro Awards Best Mobile Campaign of the Year.

My role: Strategy Director