TGIF's Very Friendly Online Promotion


By late afternoon last Friday, Woody had 784,000 friends. (It's not expected he'll re-up his goal a second time.)

"It was interesting to see how quickly the page turned," said Feakins. "With social media and advertising we're at a collision point. You have zero control when things are good ... or when they go south."

Facebook has obviously become fertile ground for marketers. But with Woody, Publicis is seeking to create a more long-term bond with friends than a short-term bump in restaurant traffic and sales.

"The question is, how do we use Woody going forward?" said Feakins. "This is different from other 'free' promotions. The burger was the mechanism, but Woody allowed the introduction for TGI Friday fans to get together. Can these guys sustain each other three weeks from now? Have we garnered the loyalty of his fans?"

Given the fact Woody is positioned as a fan and not a brand spokesman, his persona has to be handled carefully, which is why he won't be making regular appearances in TV ads. A major concern was whether the Facebook community would accept an actor among them, and while there were opinionated comments about that role, Publicis said he received over 200,000 viewings of his videos and more than 100,000 wall postings. The feedback to Woody, said Feakins, was "shockingly positive."

Nielsen Business Media