SITUATION ANALYSIS

The restaurant market has long been saturated with promotions for popular holidays, from Valentine’s Day to Super Bowl Sunday and many more. Recently, brands have begun celebrating food-specific holidays—National Coffee Day, National Sandwich Day, National Ice Cream Day, to name a few—to help guests celebrate small moments during the course of their everyday lives. Our client, On the Border, the world’s largest Mexican casual dining brand, decided to create their own holiday to honor one of their signature dishes, the fajita. Ink Link Marketing worked with the brand to not only officially coin ‘National Fajita Day’, but to turn the event into a true fiesta celebrated in On the Border restaurants from coast to coast.

STRATEGY

The strategy was to take a signature item that the brand is known for, sizzling hot fajitas, and construct a unique new national ‘day’ in its honor. August 18 was carefully selected as the ‘red letter day’. Since no other major holidays occur in August, an otherwise dry month for media, it was the perfect date to make a splash. Ink Link Marketing turned to NationalDayCalendar.com, a website that verifies and helps launch national holidays. With a strict approval process requiring a committee’s unanimous vote, only about 30 of the 18,000 submissions sent to National Day Calendar each year are selected. After receiving the necessary approval, we used the quirkiness of the unusual new holiday to get our foot in the door with the media in On the Border markets.

TACTICS

  • Press materials, including a release, talking points, frequently asked questions and ingredient lists were drafted to inform people about the new holiday and of the limited-time, special price fajita meal served on ‘National Fajita Day’;
  • Print, trade, online and local news sources were pitched using these materials;
  • Ink Link deemed that all On the Border chefs became “Fajita Sizzling Certified”, and, with their new credentials, booked them to appear on television segments in major OTB markets to demonstrate how to create and top the perfect fajita;
  • Chefs and brand representatives who were booked to appear on television were trained by Ink Link’s media masters on how to confidently and professionally present themselves on camera and how to showcase the food in the best possible way;
  • Even more locally, calendar listings were published for each OTB market across several websites to notify constituents about the event;
  • Several mayors signed proclamations drafted by Ink Link to officially declare August 18 ‘National Fajita Day’ within their town, which now hang proudly in each of those restaurants.

RESULTS

  • Estimated $3,022,939 in earned media value for On the Border from television, print and online sources that shared the news of ‘National Fajita Day’;
  • A new holiday born in an otherwise slow month generated excitement during the summer doldrums;
  • The traditions created during the first annual event will lead to future ‘National Fajita Day’ celebrations to surprise and delight guests in On the Border restaurants for years to come.