First off, before I tell you why I love it, here’s the campaign.
A series of social posts, including promoted ones, encouraged users to ‘save the date’, sometimes explicitly mentioning the Christmas sandwich and other times teasing with a minimum of copy and an image of a gift-wrapped sarnie.
The posts often featured a call to action such as ‘schedule now’, which linked to a landing page (complete with countdown clock) where users could add the date to their calendar or join the Facebook event.
1. A knowing and British sense of humour
Consider the copy on the countdown page above; I’ve quoted it below.
Anticipation builds. Pulses race. Taste buds tingle.
The defining moment of the sandwich calendar is almost here.
A sandwich filling is hardly worth calendarising, and surely not even Pret’s sandwich deserves such hyperbole as ‘pulses race’.
Of course, the brand is knowingly teetering between infantilised marketing-speak and self-deprecating humour of a very British kind.
The whole campaign works so well because the notion of bowing down and paying homage to a humble sandwich (however delicious) is inherently a bit absurd.
As we know from campaigns over the years, absurdity (mild or otherwise) works very well (think Tango and Dime bars for the classic, rather more over-the-top, ’90s examples).
2. Freebies to build anticipation amongst loyal followers
Though Pret’s famous sandwich didn’t debut until November 10, Twitter was releasing details of free giveaways in the days before the launch.
This is a great way to psyche up super fans and drive even greater footfall to stores outside of peak lunch hours.
Calling all Christmas Sandwich super fans: we’re giving away 100 today at our Broadwick St shop in Soho from 2.45pm pic.twitter.com/gYnqIizCtN
— Pret (@Pret) November 9, 2015
3. Brevity and intrigue
Fancy that for a promoted tweet! On a platform designed for brevity and intrigue, it’s strange that so many promoted tweets are a little waffling.
Pret, in the first example above, uses only two words in its promoted tweet (it’s coming!), a further three in the promoted card (save the date) and two in the call to action (schedule now).
Though regular Pret eaters may know from the picture of a gift-wrapped sandwich, nothing details that this is the Christmas sandwich and so the tweet has a level of intrigue that entices users to click.
It’s simple and old-fashioned ad creative, and a technique that more Twitter advertisers should pay heed to.
4. Creating an annual event
Having a seasonal product always creates enthusiasm (think Cadbury’s Creme Eggs and Starbucks’ red cups).
Pret is in on the action, too, boasting special edition products for two months of the year.
Below you can see Starbucks using similar tactics with a short promoted tweet capitalising on the nostalgia of the most festive time of year.
5. Allowing fans to evangelise
Drawing attention to one popular product like this is a great way to encourage unsolicited praise over on your Facebook page.
Indeed, you can see this happening below.
Overall, I see this Pret campaign as an example of a beautifully simple and well executed campaign using promoted social posts.