Chuck E. Cheese is in the middle of a major messaging transition directed more toward parents than its vast kid base. As part of this new marketing strategy, the brand is relying heavily on a group of "mom bloggers" to visit its restaurants and write about their favorable experiences.
To kick start the effort, Chuck E. Cheese's executives attended the BlogHer social media conference for women in New York City in early August. The eighth annual BlogHer Conference featured more than 3,000 female bloggers and attendees.
Earlier this week, Chuck E. Cheese kicked off a promotion aimed specifically at this demographic. The BlogHer Be a Kid Sweepstakes runs through Oct. 4 and those who comment on submitted blogs on the BlogHer site are entered for a chance to win a $100 Chuck E. Cheese gift card.
Nearly 15 blogs have already been entered in the three days since the promotion launched, each with a sharable functionality for Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.
While blog topics have ranged from "beating the heat" to "affordable family fun," the common themes among them are safety, cleanliness and affordability, and the common objective seems to be brand advocacy from a parents' perspective.
For example, one blogger wrote: "Chuck E. Cheese's Kid Check system is pretty genius if you ask me. They stamp you and your child with an ink sensitive only to black light. Before you leave, they check to make sure your numbers match with their black light flash lights. Brilliant!"
She added that the tables and bathrooms were clean ("not often the case at many family-friendly restaurants") and that Chuck E. Cheese is a great place for a families to visit without worrying about the mess or noise they're making.
Another blogger offered "mom tips" for visiting a Chuck E. Cheese: "When at Chuck E. Cheese's, only give the kids ONE token at a time. This requires them to come back to you in between each game so you always know where they are! Works every time. I wasn't concerned about where they were, as they were always checking in. I wasn't concerned about security, as they have a fantastic kid-check system at each door matching parent with child by special lighting stamps. And I was able to just relax."
She also raved about the affordability of the restaurant: "Admission is always free and each game is one token. What's a token worth? Just about a quarter. We spent an entire 2 hours at Chuck E. Cheese's for just about $5 in tokens. Seriously? Any Mom can tell you that is just about as amazing as it gets."
Other positive notes and tips submitted so far include:
- "They offered us some Purell Hand Sanitizer, so I didn't need to worry about what my child may have picked up from another child while playing."
- "I'd suggest bringing a friend or two so the moms can chat while the kids explore- I've met friends there before and it is a great place to catch up!"
- "Chuck E. Cheese's has a great safety system and as you enter, you check in with a special stamp that matches you to your child. Then they make sure that everyone who comes together, leaves together. I can also sit and enjoy my food with friends and easily see the whole play area and keep my eye on my littles."
Each post ends with a kick back to the promotion and encourages more social media activity from those reading: "Want to visit Chuck E. Cheese's yourself? For more information, you can visit Chuck E. Cheese's website HERE and stay connected by liking Chuck E. Cheese's page on Facebook HERE."
The company's agency, M/C/C, recently won the top honor at the MarCom Awards for the multi-stage social media campaign it created for Chuck E. Cheese's in working with mom bloggers.
Read more about social media initiatives.
Alicia Kelso has been a professional journalist for 15 years. Her work with QSRweb.com and PizzaMarketplace.com has been featured in publications around the world, including Good Morning America, Voice of Russia radio, Consumerist.com and Franchise Asia magazine.