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Olive Garden invests in mobile video to drive in-store foot traffic

June 20, 2012

Restaurant chain Olive Garden is making a bigger investment in mobile with a new campaign that uses video and an optimized-site to entice consumers to try its limited-time-only menu items.

The company is running the mobile advertising campaign within Pandora’s iPhone application. Olive Garden has used mobile before to encourage new and existing customers to go to its locations and try its menu items.

“I like the Olive Garden campaign as it is simple and focused on individual menu items, which is well suited to both the mobile device’s small screen size and the mobile user’s busy behavior,” said Simon Buckingham, CEO of Appitalism, New York.

Mr. Buckingham is not affiliated with Olive Garden. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

Olive Garden did not respond to press inquiries.

Driving traffic
Olive Garden is running mobile video and expandable ads that promote its unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks items.

The mobile video encourages consumers to try the limited-time only items at participating locations.

When the mobile video finishes, an expandable ad comes up that lets consumers find the nearest Olive Garden.

When consumers tap on the ad they are taken to the company’s mobile-optimized site where they can find the nearest restaurant, browse the Olive Garden menu, check out nutritional information and contact the company.

By incorporating mobile video into the marketing mix, Olive Garden is offering its customers something new.

Nowadays, marketers are using mobile video to entice consumers.

Additionally, running another mobile ad that lets consumers find the nearest location is critical, as it drives in-store traffic.

Mobile past
Olive Garden is no stranger to mobile.

The restaurant chain dipped its toes in mobile via a new campaign that promoted the company’s never-ending pasta bowl and encouraged consumers to try it at any of its locations.

Olive Garden ran mobile ads within Pandora’s iPhone app. The ads encouraged consumers to learn more about Olive Garden’s never-ending pasta bowls (see story).

“The campaign is well designed since if you like the menu item you can locate your nearest restaurant,” Mr. Buckingham said.

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Rimma Kats is associate editor on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach her at

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