Despite Papa John’s financial difficulties and controversies last year, the pizza chain brought people joy in May with a simple offering: Tweet #GarlicSauce and the pizza emoji, and Fooji will steer you to a private url where you can buy an 8-pound bottle of garlic sauce. Cue the loving tweets, even if it cost people $20 per bottle.
Papa John’s didn’t pull off the stunt alone. The company hired Fooji, a tech startup that helps coordinate the logistics of selecting winners and delivering them their prizes. Over the last few months, Fooji has worked with Hollywood studios for “Incredibles 2,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Silicon Valley” as well as cable TV network Fox Deportes, streaming service LiveMe and convenience store chain Wawa.
Beyond buying ads on social or via influencers, advertisers have been paying companies like Fooji to market new products, concerts or premieres. The campaigns vary in length and cost, but the overall hope is that they create fans out of the winners and spur excitement from the enthusiasm shared on social media.
“Papa John’s was unique because it was a large-scale campaign where the fans actually purchased the product,” said Erik Zamudio, Fooji’s co-founder and chief business officer. “After tweeting out the call to action, fans were taken to a microsite where they were able to purchase exclusive Papa John’s merch and gallon jugs of garlic sauce.”
“We thought it was a novel idea and cool, but very limiting to just use a pizza emoji. Why not do the entire menu of emoji characters available?” Gregg Morton, Fooji’s co-founder and CEO, told ABC News in June 2015.
Three years later, Fooji still gives away pizzas via emoji. The company, based in Lexington, Kentucky, has 27 full-time employees. Fooji has raised $4.2 million to date, according to the company, and has expanded beyond delivering pizza and beyond serving Manhattan.
To promote the season five premiere of HBO’s “Silicon Valley” in March, Fooji delivered 714 pizzas in customized boxes in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York. Some pizzas were delivered by drone, a first for Fooji. Fooji later used drones again to promote a French Montana concert for LiveMe.
“The delivery mechanism depends on the goals and requests of the client,” Zamudio said. “We’re always adding new, exciting delivery partners to help our clients make the biggest splash and deliver the best experiences to their fans.”
— Dyvon (@ItzDyvon) May 12, 2018
For the “Silicon Valley” campaign, Fooji said it generated about 19,000 tweets and 11.6 million impressions. Like typical marketing campaigns, companies provide Fooji with a number of free items and an overall campaign budget. Average activations cost between $50,000 and $300,000, Zamudio said. Fooji supports giveaways and sweepstakes.
Fooji isn’t the only giveaway company. Surkus, also founded in 2015, helps advertisers connect with potential fans based on interests and demographics. Companies provide a free experience or other giveaways. Some companies, like Samsung, have paid hard cash to get people to attend events.
Meanwhile, Fooji fans are praying the pizza doesn’t go away.
Fireball taps into streaming, Instagram to reach Gen Z of drinking age
To drive reach and awareness with Gen Z, spirits brand Fireball last month increased its digital video output on Instagram and streaming sites like ESPN, Peacock and Hulu with 15-20 second ads. It is the cinnamon whiskey’s first creative campaign to market to Gen Z, as many are now of legal drinking age. (The demographic […]
Why regulators are still at odds over ad tech data privacy standards
The problem with attempts to bring order to online advertising’s data industrial complex is how loosely written the rules are.
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research: Amazon holds untapped marketing potential for brands, agencies
Digiday's survey revealed a huge difference between how brands and agencies are spending on Amazon and other retail marketing sites compared with how confident they are that those channels drive marketing success.
SponsoredHow marketers are tailoring data-driven creative to engage audiences on CTV
Gabriela Maestre, vice president of creative solutions, Tremor International As the end of the year approaches and marketing teams look to finalize their 2023 budgets, many are wondering how to ensure their ads are set up for success in the months ahead, appealing to unique audiences whose media consumption habits continue to evolve. Advances in […]
How brands like Pepsi and American Eagle are investing in original sound marketing on TikTok
Pepsi announced a partnership with singer and actress Chlöe Bailey on Tuesday to release a new version of the song “Footloose,” encouraging TikTok users to join a dance challenge using the sound.
Evil Geniuses is using its DEI-friendly profile to win business from brand partners like Bud Light, HP and others
Evil Geniuses’ DEI-focused branding allows it to serve as a more palatable alternative to esports organizations embroiled in controversy.