If authenticity is the Holy Grail of social media, then White Castle and Anthony “Spice” Adams, former Chicago Bear, are on their way to Nirvana. This unlikely twosome came together in an unexpected way in 2013 when Spice Adams created “Anthony Adams Retires,” which was organized and filmed at a White Castle location. The video, with over 1.2 million views and counting, set the partnership in motion. While many companies would have called in the brand police, White Castle rolled out the welcome mat with their advertising agency. Together, we leveraged Anthony Adams’ retirement announcement, his love for the brand and a creative, quick-to-respond social team. The social team, reacting to Anthony Adams' tweet about working at White Castle when he retires, created a powerful social initiative that used video, paid, owned and earned media to drive success. The unexpected union resulted in heightened brand awareness for White Castle and a successful fundraising opportunity for Autism Speaks.Former NFL player, Anthony “Spice” Adams decided to retire in a very unconventional fashion. Instead of the fanfare and limelight of an ESPN interview, he and his wife went to a local White Castle restaurant and filmed a retirement video that they posted on YouTube. The social team at the agency saw it and knew there was an opportunity to create something bigger.
The challenge was generating as much buzz as possible for White Castle in a short window of time, bringing our social audience compelling content and driving substantial engagement for the brand.
The idea that was developed and executed was an all out assault on Twitter and Facebook along with the creation of a tongue-in-cheek video highlighting Anthony’s first day of “work” at a White Castle Restaurant. In addition, we decided to tie the video to Autism Speaks and to run a campaign to help raise funds for an important cause by having White Castle donate $1 for every like, share, comment and retweet. Other socially savvy celebrities got involved and helped spread the word, share the videos and support the cause for Autism Awareness.
What started as one video turned into a series of three and provided White Castle with more than 1.2 million video views, a showcased story at Chicago's Social Media Week, numerous engagements by socialized celebrities and Cravers (White Castle customers) and an on-going brand and social influencer relationship.
As a result, the brand has utilized video as a best-in-class example of branded social content.
The metrics (in just one month):
• More than 1.2 million video views on YouTube
• 2,400 retweets, ~29M Twitter impressions
• 1M+ Facebook impressions, ~120K engagements
• Reached trending video status
• Within 48 hours the social sharing allowed us to reach a goal of a $25,000 donation for Autism Awareness
• Media/Celebrity Involvement: Brandon Marshall (WR), Matt Forté (RB), Michael Strahan (@michealstrahan, New York Giants), Jim Rome (@jimrome, CBS Sports Radio Host), Spike TV, Chicago Sun Times, NBC Sports Network, Adam Caplan (ESPN NFL/SiriusXM Radio Host), Deadspin, USA Today Sports, Comcast Sports Network, Penn State Football, Fox News Insider, Bleacher Report, SB Nation, The Blaze, Larry Brown Sports, NinersNation.com and Yahoo Sports.
Original video – Anthony Adams Retires
Follow-up Video – Anthony Adams Tries Out For White Castle
Final Video – Anthony Adams Goes To The Hall of Fame
USA Today http://www.usatoday.com/story/gameon/2013/03/23/anthony-adams-nfl-retirement-video-white-castle/2014177/ Social Media Week/Chicago http://m.socialmediaweek.org/imps/smw/event.html?event_id=96859&rnd=4378792 Yahoo Sports http://sports.yahoo.com/news/anthony-adams-retires-style-white-192014045--nfl.html Spike.com http://www.spike.com/articles/dm676v/playbook-360-anthony-spice-adams-announces-his-retirement-from-the-nfl-at-white-castle Lauran Berta (Blogger) http://storify.com/LauranBerta/former-chicago-bear-anthony-adams-goes-to-white-ca National Football Post.com http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/Anthony-Adams-retires-in-styleat-White-Castle-video.html SB Nation http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2013/3/25/4146384/anthony-adams-announces-his-retirement-at-white-castle Deadspin http://deadspin.com/an-empty-white-castle-and-two-bored-children-former-nf-458719127 Voices – A Chicago Sun Time Blog http://voices.suntimes.com/sports/sports-prose/former-chicago-bear-anthony-adams-goes-to-white-castle/ Chicago Sun-Times http://newssun.suntimes.com/news/19122872-418/flipping-jobs-former-chicago-bear-anthony-adams-goes-to-white-castle.html @michaelstrahan https://twitter.com/michaelstrahan/status/315849159976550400
Jaime Richardson, Public Relations, White Castle
Lynn Blashford, Director of Marketing, White Castle
Jenifer Zuehlke, Brand Manager, White Castle
Anthony Adams, Former Chicago Bear Player and White Castle Craver
Kim Bartley, VP Marketing, White Castle
Scott Thaler, EVP, Digital Growth & Innovation, Zimmerman Advertising
Matthew Strelitz, Social Marketing Manager, Zimmerman Advertising
Sydney Ferber, Digital Client Coordinator, Zimmerman Advertising
Barry Cunningham, Social Marketing Director, Zimmerman Advertising
Cindy Syracuse, SVP, Group Account Director, Zimmerman Advertising
Darrin Cohen, Promotions Manager, Zimmerman Advertising