Marketers offer fresh content and freebies for first day of spring

Ice cream cones and lists of places to walk and enjoy the air (whether or not it’s cold) top the list of brand managers’ efforts to entice consumers.

They might get snow instead of showers for people’s flowers—but many brand managers are celebrating the first day of spring.

As marketers gear up to attract eyeballs on March 20, a few chains—noticeably Dairy Queen and Rita’s Italian Ice—are giving away free stuff.

Dairy Queen is offering small cones:

USA Today reported:

The event also serves as a fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals and participating stores will collect donations for local hospitals. Last year, Dairy Queen fans and franchisees contributed nearly $300,000 in one day, according to a news release.

“This day has become a spring tradition and a sign that warmer weather is upon us,” Maria Hokanson, executive vice president of marketing for American Dairy Queen Corp., said in a statement.

Rita’s Italian Ice is also giving cups of its Italian ice—and has been promoting the freebies along with its “Ultimate Hooky Trip” contest on Facebook.

In a press release, the company said:

“We strive to not only serve our guests fresh, delicious Italian Ice, but happiness too,” comments Linda Chadwick, Rita’s President and CEO. “The First Day of Spring, along with a free cup of Rita’s Italian Ice, gives us the perfect opportunity to start the season by bringing a smile to everyone’s face.”

The three-day, two-night “Ultimate Hooky Trip” to Miami will be awarded to the contestant who posts the best excuse to ditch their daily responsibilities on the First Day of Spring and visit the nearest Rita’s for free Italian Ice. Raccoon steal your keys? See where we are going with this? The contest will be conducted on Rita’s Facebook page, Rita’s will select three top candidates, then turn the decision over to their audience to select the best excuse, winning them the “Ultimate Hooky Trip” to Miami. All three potential candidates will win a year of Rita’s Italian Ice.

Individual franchisees are mentioning the campaign using March Madness content, such as this tweet:

Others are offering other free stuff or a chance to win items through contests:

Brand managers’ content boasts helpful tips

Though not ice cream nor Italian ice, other brand managers are offering freebies in the form of informative content:

Vox published an article with several factoids about the spring equinox:

Michigan’s Travel & Tourism Board shared an article filled with cities in which visitors could enjoy a spring walk:

Holiday Barn, a dog-grooming salon in Richmond, Virginia, shared an article with safety tips for its clientele’s pooches:

Agri-King went with eye-popping visuals in its guide to evaluating fields:

Others shared invitations, behind-the-scenes videos and fun GIFs.

Londonist tweeted an invitation to a new art installation at St. Christopher’s Garden in London:

Here’s what Emporia State University’s football team and Ottowa University’s softball team tweeted to celebrate early:

Others heap on product placements and brand mentions

Aside from freebies and content, marketers are jumping at the chance to promote their products, services and brands on social media. Though not as engaging as the other examples, these efforts probably won’t be in short supply for the first day of spring.

What do you think of these marketing messages, Ragan/PR Daily readers?

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