Pokemon Go's first sponsored locations reportedly went live today in Japan, offering retailers the chance to create "gyms," which let players battle or train characters in the mobile game.
Banner ads are pretty much the bane of every digital consumer's existence. So, it's no small measure that Red Robin just launched—through a partnership with Google—an interactive display campaign that could actually turn sci-fi fans into patrons of the fast-casual burger chain.
Back in January, Red Robin basked in the glow of good publicity after the manager of one of its North Carolina restaurants comped a pregnant patron $11.50 and added a good-luck message to her bill. Aww! The coverage this week, however, is closer to aww-ful, as the chain is taking heat from vegetarians for a commercial touting its 24 burger options. The 15-second spot includes the line, "We even have a garden burger … just in case your teenage daughter is going through a phase." The actress's overdone delivery, probably intended as conspiratorial, comes off as condescending. Now, you'd think vegetarians would be too scrawny and weak to kick up a fuss, but they flocked to social media (where else?) and accused the chain of being disrespectful and callous, demanding that it pull the ad and/or apologize. On Monday, Red Robin's communications chief, Kevin Caulfield, told the Huffington Post that the ad "is planned to be out of rotation and no longer on the air very soon." The controversy will have no lasting impact, and I expect any ill will to vanish as soon as the commercial does. It's not like the chain's employees posted videos of themselves licking garden burgers or sticking their toes in the lettuce—yet. Behave, burger people! See a few more spots from the campaign after the jump. red robin says it offers a gardenburger "just in case your teenage daughter is going through a phase." how many groups did it just insult? — Chris Ziegler (@zpower) June 18, 2013
It doesn't cost much for a brand to polish its image and generate lots of positive media attention. In fact, $11.50 will get you a ton of it.