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:
— Dairy Queen (@DairyQueen) March 18, 2018
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:
Open today until 10:30 pm. tomorrow is our Free Ice Day! Visit us on March 20 and celebrate the first day spring with us 🙂 pic.twitter.com/n5pATVGEj7
— Rita’s of Pequannock (@PequannockRitas) March 19, 2018
Others are offering other free stuff or a chance to win items through contests:
We’re celebrating the first day of spring on @Kanopy, streaming 6 free film features a month with our library cards! 🌷 Rediscover the natural beauties of the world and discussion on modern agriculture when you visit 👉 https://t.co/VDqC6LfXBJ pic.twitter.com/bdxPzesJN4
— LB Public Library (@LBCityLibrary) March 19, 2018
Join us for our biggest Commuter Happy Hour yet! We’re kicking off the First Day of Spring TOMORROW from 12-2pm in the Rathskeller with @MSU_HealthPromo ! Come make your own healthy trail mix, paint your own mini pot & walk away with FREE mini succulents! pic.twitter.com/KxbiqnL4Iz
— Montclair U Commutes (@MSUcommutes) March 19, 2018
— LA County Library (@LACountyLibrary) March 19, 2018
Tomorrow’s the first day of Spring, but many places still feel like winter. AIRCARE is giving away a whole house humidifier to keep your air comfy! LIKE our Facebook page, comment with your location/current temp, and you’ll be entered for a Space Saver 826000, drawn Friday! #win pic.twitter.com/lex51ND01a
— AIRCARE (@essickair) March 19, 2018
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:
Heck yeah: tomorrow is the first day of spring https://t.co/7UR31Of7ba
— Vox (@voxdotcom) March 19, 2018
Michigan’s Travel & Tourism Board shared an article filled with cities in which visitors could enjoy a spring walk:
Tomorrow is the first day of spring! Celebrate the season in some of our favorite downtown areas. 💐 #PureMichigan
— Pure Michigan (@PureMichigan) March 19, 2018
Holiday Barn, a dog-grooming salon in Richmond, Virginia, shared an article with safety tips for its clientele’s pooches:
Tomorrow is the first day of SPRING! In Richmond, that means lots of James River fun for you and your dog! Here are some things you should know before taking that plunge! https://t.co/yoYOZ8O4OH #RVA #Richmond #Virginia
— Holiday Barn (@holidaybarn) March 19, 2018
Agri-King went with eye-popping visuals in its guide to evaluating fields:
The first day of spring is tomorrow, so that means first cutting isn’t too far away. Now is also the time to start considering the overall health of your fields and the most common problems that arise.#KeyToProfit pic.twitter.com/G177WiJxfP
— Agri-King (@AgriKingInc) March 19, 2018
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:
Celebrate the first day of spring at @SCP_London, with fashion, food and a captivating new art installation, Spring Rites, projected in the area’s piazza. Be the first to catch a glimpse from 4pm-8pm on 20 March https://t.co/wctyJBTs2Z #SCPGarden (sponsor) pic.twitter.com/32HY5Ba8fQ
— Londonist (@Londonist) March 19, 2018
Here’s what Emporia State University’s football team and Ottowa University’s softball team tweeted to celebrate early:
— ESU Hornet Football (@ESUFOOTBALL) March 15, 2018
— OU Softball (@OUBraveSoftball) March 19, 2018
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.
— New Holland N. Amer. (@NHAgriculture) March 19, 2018
Tomorrow’s the first day of spring and I’m ready to dominate some grass with my new @CubCadet_USA. I picked the PRO Z 900 because it’s the baddest on the planet! #CubCadet #AndStill pic.twitter.com/iPg9dr2075
— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocicufc) March 19, 2018
Getting ready for the first day of spring like ➡️ 🚘💦✨ pic.twitter.com/XDoWMu9iRf
— Foam and Wash (@FoamandWash) March 19, 2018
Tomorrow is the first day of Spring and Summer is coming at us fast! What have you done to reach your goals? Litchfield Athletic Club Personal Trainers can get you on track and soon our outdoor Fit Pit will be open! What are you waiting for? pic.twitter.com/CaQFR3bYHM
— Litchfield Athletic (@litchathclub) March 19, 2018
What do you think of these marketing messages, Ragan/PR Daily readers?