Reinvigorating a burger brand with big lifts in same-store sales (during a pandemic)
Smashburger was ready to establish themselves as a national fast-casual player. But years of heavy discounting and sporadic menu shifts had made them just another burger joint.
Smashburger makes its burgers by “smashing” them on the grill — a unique process only Smashburger can own. We aligned this product attribute with the social media phenomenon of people celebrating moments of everyday greatness — moments when they totally smashed it. With “smash” in the name, it was the perfect way to position Smashburger as a craveable reward for living your best life.
Our media team chose dayparts, markets, and channels aligned with consumer behavior, striking around lunch and dinner planning. Strategically placed OOH oriented people to Smashburger locations, and digital ads promoted online ordering.
Smashed It! also gave the brand a more meaningful way to interact with customers. Through social listening, they could respond directly to smash-worthy social posts with the reward of free burgers.
We quickly pivoted the campaign to support the heroes on the front lines of the pandemic, donating free meals with every purchase. Smashburger’s #FeedtheFrontliners promotion gave away over 30,000 meals and raised $175,000 for emergency response workers, helping the brand leave a meaningful mark.
After four years of decline, Smashburger sales are up double digits. Despite the pandemic, sales increased 18% vs. YAG, bucking the rest of the fast casual category (-6%).