Sub chain Blimpie has launched a mobile game app, Blimpie Run, for Android and iOS operating systems as part of a new mobile marketing strategy and a brand overhaul that it says includes new store designs and menu offerings to attract millennials.
The game launched on Android the week of September 9 and was approved and published on iOS on September 14.
As of September 20, the app had about 1,000 downloads, which Kahala director of marketing Steve Evans says is before any of the brand’s weekend promotional efforts. Kahala is a franchising company with a portfolio of 15 quick-service brands including Blimpie.
Evans also notes the brand has seen a higher rate of downloads from Apple users.
“It’s been out in the Android market for almost a full week more and a significantly higher portion [of downloads] are on the Apple market,” he says.
In the game, Blimpie’s mascot, Del E. Fresh, runs through U.S. cities to collect fresh ingredients on his way to the nearest Blimpie. Del E. Fresh has to outrun skunks, scorpions and other predators while avoiding unique obstacles in different cities, the brand says.
Del E. Fresh is an updated version of Blimpie’s mascot, The Sub Man, who, Evans notes, was once featured in an episode of Sex and the City.
Each month, app users have a chance to win free subs for a year, as well as the opportunity to collect app-exclusive offers. They can also use Facebook and Twitter to share high scores or challenge friends.
Eventually the brand would like to layer in SMS texting and push notifications to send unique content to players, Evans says.
According to Blimpie, the app is just one part of a brand overhaul as the chain prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2014. The brand refresh includes new store designs and menus to appeal to younger customers with brighter colors, Americana wall murals and booth seating for a more comfortable atmosphere, the brand says. New menu boards also include more images, Evans adds.
In addition, the brand is migrating additional ad dollars to digital, where younger people are spending time, Evans says.
While Blimpie Run is Blimpie’s first app, it is not the first Kahala app. The company rolled out an app for its Taco Time brand earlier this year.
With the app, Blimpie hopes to be more relevant to millennials. Blimpie’s interactive team decided to hop on the free gaming app bandwagon about a year ago with an offering that would give Millennials an outlet to engage with the brand in a more fun way, Evans says.
Millennials are important because not only will they potentially be a large customer base for years to come, but they use quick service restaurants at a higher rate than older demographics, Evans says.
“Building a relationship in their formative years while they are making brand decisions that will take them through life [has the potential to] increase sales at much lower ad dollar spend,” Evans says.
To push the app, Blimpie is targeting highly trafficked app review sites, as well as conducting an email marketing campaign and using promoted tweets, in-app advertising, pay-per-click campaigns, banner ads and possibly paid search, Evans says.
Headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, Blimpie says it serves sandwiches prepared with quality ingredients, along with soups and salads. Founded in 1964, Blimpie has grown to nearly 1,000 franchised restaurants in the U.S. The brand became a part of Kahala in 2006.
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