Thursday, March 1, 2012

Arby's embraces the sandwich on social media

I'm no fan of Arby's frighteningly-soft and salty roast beef now, but I loved it as a teenager.

What interests me about what they're doing these days is purely professional — it's how they are using the Buzzfeed viral-launching site to promote their new Reuben sandwich.

They start with branded soft-sell, but keep it minimal:

Note the "Sponsored Partner", meaning that they paid to stay on the front page of the "Latest Buzz" list (which is the section I always go to).

But then then change the conversation into one of the most popular topics among people who like to talk about nothing online: Sandwiches.

That doesn't look like any Reuben I've ever... wait a minute! That's their version!

But notice they talk about the sandwich in general, and if there's anything likely to cause debate, it's the proper origins of North American comfort foods.

They then leave their own menu and do a generic rundown of the Hoagie, the French Dip, the Club, the Sloppy Joe, the Philly Cheese Steak, the Monte Cristo, the BLT, the Po' Boy, and the Dagwood.

We call them "subs"
Man, I'm hungry.

They have another post on Buzzfeed called "Awesome Variations Of The Reuben Sandwich You Need To Try Right Now" which follows the same basic formula.

Do you think it will work? I have a feeling it will. The fast food chain has hit upon a good balance of obvious self-promotion and content which is anything but groundbreaking, but also sort of worth a browse—especially before lunch. And if the nearest Arby's just might be more convenient than the nearest real deli... well... they send you straight to a store locator on their Facebook page.

It's not shockingly innovative, but it is good, sensible, modern online marketing. I'm still not going to eat there, but it's much smarter marketing than their infamous SI Swimsuit ad.

Especially since this is not the area of the female anatomy that is generally compared to a roast beef sandwich...

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