Influencer Marketing in the Food Industry: A Qdoba Case Study

Feb 23, 2017
Tina Courtney
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Influencer marketing in the food industryDon’t just believe the hype around influencer marketing; the proof is in the results. Yes, the modality has become so widely recognized that influencer marketing even caught the attention of 60 Minutes. But we’re marketers; we don’t hop on trends for the sake of being current. We adopt practices that work.

Here’s the truth: Influencer marketing as a practice has proven to reach far beyond the capabilities of most advertising methods – both on and offline – and is virtually unparalleled in driving digital sales, social media growth, email signups, and just about every other marketing objective.

But when it comes to using influencers to promote a business that exclusively sells physical products that cannot be ordered online, the practice fails to deliver value.

Unless you are A) crazy creative or B) hawking guacamole.

Recently, Evolve! proved that the influence of digital authorities extends well outside the realm of social destinations and digital shopping carts when casual Mexican restaurant Qdoba wanted to assemble an influencer campaign to promote their differentiating factor: Free guacamole.

You can get to the delicious meat of the campaign by downloading the Qdoba case study.

If you thought that influencer marketing was only beneficial to online earnings, here’s some food for thought.

Qdoba – Unboxed

Knowing full well that YouTuClintusTV for Qdobabe is the single most powerful platform for influencer marketing, Evolve! elected to use this network as the main driver of the multi-channel campaign, starting off with a series of five “unboxing” videos.

For these promos, influencers like Clintus.tv would get to chow down on Qdoba’s mouthwatering tacos, burritos, and other savory goods while unboxing a variety of hilarious goodies and Qdoba-branded swag like gift cards, mini-maracas, and taco t-shirts.

This single portion of the campaign racked up more than 250,000 video views and its accompanying hashtag, #QdobaUnbox, generated over 20 million social impressions.

Less is Not Always More (Especially when it Comes to Guacamole)

Building on the success of the initial launch of the campaign, Evolve! enlisted the talent of four more YouTube superstars to help revel in their favorite things for the #MoreIsBetter portion of the campaign.

Here, influencers inJamesMaslowQdobadulged in creative concepts like in-restaurant dance parties with each movement inspired by Qdoba’s different flavors of knockout tacos, fiestas with friends, and-all around comedic shenanigans like in James Maslow’s epic #MoreIsBetter video.

Similar to the previous effort’s results, #MoreIsBetter went on to generate more than 16 million impressions across social media and engendered well over 10,000 engagements on YouTube alone.

The Best Things in Life are #Free

This all leads us to the campaign’s coup de grâce: #FreeGuac.

In the #FreeGuac portion of the campaign, Evolve! worked with five influencers, including the FUNkee Bunch, to promote a social scavenger hunt, giving away $2,500 and tons of other great prizes.

Using the influencer-made videos as a means to drive potential contestants to a dedicated landing page on the Qdoba website, participants travel#FreeGuac Maped around a virtual map, clicking video clips from influencers that gave them clues to answer riddles.

The scavenger hunt, in conjunction with the influencer-created YouTube videos and social hashtag #FreeGuac, was a smashing (See what I did there? Because guacamol… Never mind.) success.

After the two weeks had run its course, the entirety of the campaign generated over 3 million YouTube video views, more than 200 million social impressions, nearly 85,000 engagements, 250,000 Qdoba website hits, over 10,000 contest entries, and countless tacos sold.

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