Since its founding in L.A. in 1961, Wienerschnitzel had grown to 340 franchise locations in 10 Western states by 2018. To take the next step in its aggressive growth plan however, the brand would need to convince franchisees to add hot dogs to their hamburger, Mexican and pizza QSR portfolios in a big way. Simultaneously, it would also need to start educating the fast food-loving public about its iconic Mustard Dogs, Chili Cheese Fries and Tastee-Freez desserts nationally and in key Midwest, Southern and East Coast growth markets.
A Rocketeer-led PR team responded with a dual-pronged fran-dev strategy. To position Wienerschnitzel as an attractive local investment opportunity, we implemented a traditional PR plan to saturate the local business and consumer media with news of Wienerschnitzel’s planned expansion, initially in Houston as the first step of a long-term effort to infiltrate the Lone Star State. Local story-placement efforts to support Wienerschnitzel’s first business owners in Texas were combined with coverage in national franchise media including partnerships with Franchise Update Media and other top-tier outlets.
Part 2 of the brand expansion strategy – laying the groundwork for consumer awareness beyond the chain’s Western states core – proved more challenging on the small available budget. Working closely with the brand team, we arranged for Wienerschnitzel to sponsor the 2019 American Advertising Federation (AAF) National Student Ad Competition (NSAC), which would give marketing students at more than 80 colleges and universities across the country the semester-long challenge of selling hot dogs on behalf of Wienerschnitzel.
In addition to owning all submitted marketing campaigns and creative ideas, Wienerschnitzel was afforded a national PR platform, which we leveraged through the placement of feel-good brand and franchisee stories linking Wienerschnitzel hot dogs with student mentorship and achievement.
- More than two dozen initial print, online and broadcast stories announcing Wienerschnitzel’s first local franchisee in Houston.
- Extensive local print and broadcast coverage of the grand opening of Houston’s first Wienerschnitzel.
- National coverage in franchise and QSR trade media.
- More than 50 million brand expansion-themed impressions in the Houston market alone.
- Public Relations