New Digital Campaign for TGI Fridays Builds Off of Hamilton’s Success

Promotion hones in on social buzz

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TGI Fridays is pushing hard to court millennials, including new store designs and drone tests.

Now, TGI Fridays is aiming to latch on to some of the buzz around Broadway's hit Hamilton with a series of spots that are part of its "largest digital and social push."

The campaign—created by Made Movement—features Alexander Hamilton, who has not only been part of the Hamilton craze, but has also been in the news for the decision to keep his image on the front of $10 bill (alongside women suffrage leaders on the backside of bills).

"When we were doing ad testing for another product promotion, the agency came back with the idea that everyone will talk about money in different denominations—what if we leverage Hamilton?" said Cindy Syracuse, vp of marketing activation at TGI Fridays.

Thirty and 8-second videos are running on online video networks and social media, with a 15-second version airing on TV.

The digital buy includes placements on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as well as programmatic and streaming audio ads. TGI Fridays is also running geo-fenced and interstitial ads.

Despite the hefty digital push, Syracuse said that the brand isn't cutting back on TV spending.

"I don't cut TV weight to have digital—we don't want to reduce our footprint in television, but it's important to understand and be efficient in how you use digital media," she said.

The Hamilton campaign is a shift from TGI Fridays' previous digital efforts, though, because the content was created with a digital media plan in mind.

"It was a mindset of not just, 'hey, we got content. Let's purchase media,' to knowing that we're going to set up this digital plan and then we were able to design the content for it," Syracuse said.

@laurenjohnson Lauren Johnson is a senior technology editor for Adweek, where she specializes in covering mobile, social platforms and emerging tech.