East Side Mario’s ‘Budda Booms’ into Facebook

The casual dining chain launches a country-wide contest promotion using social media, digital kiosks and radio to engage customers.

How do you make an Italian meal more social? Throw in a little Facebook and tons of prizes.

With media by Ron Christie Communications and creative by Toronto’s Endeavour Marketing, East Side Mario’s has launched a new three-month promotion for its ‘Budda Boom, Budda Ching!’ contest, a play on the restaurant chain’s time-honoured ‘Badda Boom, Badda Bing’ slogan. Targeting 25- to 49-year-old women, the contest offers customers the chance to win $10 million in prizes via a PIN code on their bill. Contestants have to go to EastSideMarios.com to enter, and are given additional chances to win by joining the brand’s Facebook fan page.

Guests in the GTA can also enter to win via digital kiosks set up in 10 locations. The kiosks allow guests to enter their PIN numbers, and also gives them an opt-in to receive communications from contest partners Sunwing.ca; Dream Resorts and Spas, Cineplex Odeon, iCoke and Sony when they sign up to play. The contest is also being promoted via radio in 30-second spots running nationally Jan. 18 to March 28 and online at sites such as MSN.ca. In-store promotion includes signage, menu covers and mirror decals that say ‘Hello winner.’

The $13-million contest was designed to not only to engage customers more with the restaurant, but to grow its online engagement as well, Dan Benoit, marketing director, East Side Mario’s, tells MiC, adding that he hopes to grow the number of the brand’s Facebook fans into six digits. It’s the first time the brand has used social media as a promotional vehicle.

‘We believe that this social medium is a great vehicle to reach female head-of-households,’ Benoit tells MiC. ‘They are a significant Facebook community, and we believe that the implied endorsement they give when they share the news of the contest will be a substantial boost to awareness and participation.’