Blimpie Turns 50th Birthday Into Social Marketing Celebration

Blimpie Turns 50th Birthday Into Social Marketing Celebration


Only seven months into its year long 50th birthday celebration, Blimpie, America’s Sub Shop, has seen amazing customer engagement and growth through social media and multi-channel campaigns.Through August 1st, Blimpie is reporting a 26.7% increase in fans to its official Facebook page, a 10% increase to the loyalty eClub and an incredible 65% email conversion rate, far better than the industry average of 45%.



The customer engagement growth has been attributed to the success of two of Blimpie’s biggest fan-centric campaigns, FANmercial and the Golden Giveaway. Both campaigns encouraged customers to stay engaged with the half-century strong franchise though social media and email.“The growth of our brand through these digital mediums has been one of the best gifts we could ever ask for during our 50th birthday celebration,” said Steve Evans, vice president of marketing at Kahala, the parent company of Blimpie, “I think Golden Giveaway and FANmercial have given us a blueprint for how we will continue to connect with our customers moving forward.”

FANmercial Fun

Now in its eighth month, the FANmercial campaign that began in January is in its third and final stage. Blimpie fans submitted hundreds of ideas garnering thousands of votes to create fan-inspired commercials in honor of the brand’s 50th birthday. Now, they are selecting their favorite FANmercial for a chance to win more terrific prizes.

In January, Blimpie launched a two-month campaign encouraging fans to submit ideas on the company’s Facebook page for the brand’s next TV spot.


This past spring, more than 11,000 fans voted on their favorite idea, with the top three vote-getters moving into production. Rather than using a traditional video production team, Blimpie engaged video production powerhouse, POPTent, to bring the FANmercials to life. POPTent hosts a community of more than 50,000 video creators equipped with the tools to produce engaging, high-quality videos for some of the largest brands in the world, including FedEX, General Mills and GEICO.

With the spots complete, fans have until August 31st to vote for their favorite commercial, once again, on Blimpie’s Facebook page. One lucky voter will be randomly selected to choose from one of three great prizes — a trip for two to Las Vegas; a 65” Samsung Smart LED TV and a GoPro Hero3+; or $2,500 cash.

“FANmercial has been the most engaging project we’ve ever enjoyed with our fans,” Evans said. “The ideas were submitted by fans, voted on by fans, produced through crowdsourcing with the winner soon to be selected again by the fans.”

The Golden Touch

Launched in May, The Golden Giveaway gave Blimpie fans several opportunities to win prizes ranging from food items all the way to a trip for two to Hawaii, America’s 50th state.

Customers could receive a scratch-off card in-store by purchasing a combo meal. Each scratch-off card included an opportunity to instantly win free food or drink from Blimpie. On top of that, every card also included a unique code that could be used online for an entry in the grand prize drawing.

To reward social fans and encourage in store sales, Facebook users were given a chance to win Blimpie gift cards without a code via a Facebook app but were encouraged to visit a store, buy a combo and receive a code for a chance to win the higher-value prizes like free subs for a year, Samsung tablets and a the grand prize trip to Hawaii. The customers who had already received their scratch-off card could use the code to enter the contest from their mobile phones before they even left the store.

“We used the two contest tiers to drive both social growth and in-store sales,” Evans explained. “If you didn’t have a code, you were still rewarded as a fan and given a chance at a prize, but you were strongly incentivized to buy a combo to receive your scratch-off card and get a code. If you were already an in-store customer, you were rewarded with the chance to win free food but then incentivized to become a fan online and enter to win the grand prize.”