Friendly’s, a full-service family restaurant chain and ice cream manufacture is upping their online game. “What is most significant about Friendly’s online success is that the online campaign is fully integrated with all offline promotional activities,” notes Scott Thaler, executive vice president, chief interaction officer at Zimmerman. “We developed and are executing a fully integrated communications strategy that supports all online and offline efforts.” Friendly’s new kid’s site –IWannaGoToFriendlys.com – relaunched in March. It brings “Sprinkle Vision” to life for children with Internet access. Children view special codes at Friendly’s restaurants by wearing 3-D glasses. Kids enter the codes online at IWannaGoToFriendlys.com to unlock game features and try their luck at taking over the Friendly’s virtual ice cream factory. Six different custom game releases are planned for the year. Players are automatically entered into a sweepstakes when they register to play on the kid’s site. As of mid-July, there were more than 95,000 Factory Game Players.

A newly revamped corporate website – Friendlys.com – also launched in March. The site gives users the ability to join the Best Friends of Friendly’s Club, review nutritional information and event sections, and also peruse its marketing guidelines for parents concerned about direct appeals to children. The next site launch will be a “Mom’s Resource Center.” The Center will offer interactive and customizable tools for moms. “We are especially proud of our new corporate site,” notes Skip Weldon, Friendly’s vice president of marketing. “Unlike many competitive sites, Friendlys.com encompasses the best of both worlds when it comes to consumer focus and product focus. It provides consumer resources such as dynamic rollover menus and mom-friendly tools, along with a ‘What’s New’ page with specific information that talks about in-store specials and promotions.”

In less than three months, Friendly’s has achieved exponential success on its social networking platforms. “Facebook continues to be one of Friendly’s most robust social networking sites with over 2,000 interactions per week,” Thaler reports. The page uses inventive content like polls, trivia questions and calls for photo and video uploads. With Twitter, Friendly’s has closed the gap between followers and following (a MUST for credibility on Twitter) with many followers starting to post “twitpics” of themselves at their favorite Friendly’s restaurants. “Until recently, Friendly’s had a limited interactive presence,” says Thaler. “They have embraced social media for the first time and experienced tremendous results. They are now starting to be seen more and more as a cutting-edge brand that is popular with the entire family, especially kids and younger families.”

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