“Best Fast Food Chili Dog, Hands Down.”
Burgers. Burritos. Breadsticks (Are you hungry yet?). These food categories are dominated by their respective fast food chains — McDonald's, Chipotle, and Olive Garden. But the go-to for hot dogs? Enter: Wienerschnitzel.
Founded in 1961, Wienerschnitzel is today the world’s largest hot dog chain. It serves over 120 million hot dogs a year at prices so reasonable, you’d think inflation was nothing more than a bad dream. 💭
For decades, restaurants advertised the traditional way; cue the television commercials, jingles (“I’m loving it”), and billboards. But Wienerschnitzel knew the advertising landscape was evolving and wanted to drive awareness through a buzzy new channel: TikTok. Luckily, here at Ubiquitous, we could help with exactly that.
Why Wienerschnitzel Gave Ubiquitous a “W”
300 billion. That’s how many times the ‘food’ hashtag was mentioned on TikTok, making it clear to Wienerschnitzel that TikTok could be a lucrative marketing channel. But although Wienerschnitzel served tens of thousands of hot dogs a day, it only had 50 TikTok followers. Clearly, the audience was there — it was just a question of bridging the gap.
Wienerschnitzel reached out to us, wanting to focus mainly on TikTok. Since we’d had the pleasure of creating TikTok campaigns for other restaurant chains (shout-out McDonalds and Popeyes), Wienerschnitzel knew it was in good hands. It was time to roll up our sleeves and get to it.
Wienerschnitzel’s Goal and Objectives
Wienerschnitzel’s overall goal was to drive brand awareness and increase sales. But for an influencer campaign to be successful, it’s important to define the exact metrics that define “success.” Let’s take a closer look, shall we? 🔍
➜ Brand Awareness: Have influencers create TikToks that generate over 10 million impressions.
➜ Drive Sales of Promotional Products and Deals: Wienerschnitzel regularly releases limited-edition food items (Mac N’ Cheese, Fruit Loop Smoothie, etc.) Its goal was to increase revenue by building hype and selling out these items via TikTok.
➜ Stay Under Budget: Ideally, Wienerschnitzel wanted to stay under its CPM goal of $10.
You might be thinking, “Hang on. How can Wienerschnitzel measure revenue if it’s exclusively a brick-and-mortar store?” Fair point. Because influencer campaigns can’t track in-store purchases, the second-best metric to measure is website traffic and clicks (⚠️ Spoiler: Ubiquitous crushed it).
Before starting the campaign, Wienerschnitzel let us become an extension of their marketing department. This not only let Wienerschnitzel be more hands-off, but also let us optimize for speed, efficiency, and overall performance as we could work directly in-house. Two birds, one stone.
Here's where you get the stuff we don't put on the blog. Learn how to craft an entire TikTok marketing strategy from scratch, plus get access to our proprietary data on the top 100 creators and brands on TikTok by industry— and a lot more.
The Wienerschnitzel Influencer Marketing Gameplan
How We Selected Influencers For Wienerschnitzel
Wienerschnitzel is a restaurant. A restaurant sells food. That means it’s only logical to collaborate with food creators…right? Not quite.
We reached out to a variety of creators, as it’s best practice to start the first “wave” (i.e. timed phase of the campaign) by casting a large net and then doubling down on what’s performing best.
To visualize this, picture a funnel where each wave gets more specific as we refine the client’s perfect formula. In each wave, we filter through creators with various niches, audience sizes, posting frequency, and content types (i.e. Integrated Videos and Spark Ads).
In Wienerschnitzel’s case, we began working with creators who were in the food, lifestyle, couples, and comedy niches. We selected creators in these niches as we knew from previous restaurant clients that funny and casual, day-in-the-life style TikTok’s performed exceptionally well.
But we did require all the creators’ videos to have one thing in common: they had to film the experience of going to Wienerschnitzel. This was so viewers could become more familiar with Wienerschnitzel and its hot dogs (a classic case of the mere exposure effect). 🌭
Deploying Wienerschnitzel’s TikTok Campaign
We combed through our database of 4,000+ verified creators for the following criteria:
➜ Niches: Food, lifestyle, comedy, and couples.
➜ Audience Size: We wanted a mix of creators with varying audience sizes. In our first batch of creators, 50% had a large audience (500K), 25% medium (under 500K), and 25% small (5,000 to 50,000).
➜ Spark Ads: We filtered for creators who had previously used Spark Ads with us and gotten a large ROI.
After contacting over 250 creators, we whittled down our search to 47 creators. The creators made a total of 47 TikToks over the course of three months.
We divided Wienerschnitzel’s campaign into two distinct phases: the first, to gather data on what was performing well, and the second to use that information to sell Wienerschnitzel’s limited edition Mac N’ Cheese.
Phase One: Letting Creativity Run Wild
Being 100% confident with our selected creators, we gave them the autonomy to create TikToks they knew would best resonate with their audience. We’ve seen spectacular results in the past when giving creators creative freedom and trusting them to do what they do best: create.
And boy, did they deliver:
• Generated 19.5 million views
• Achieved a 6.33% engagement rate
• Delivered retargeted TikTok Spark Ads to reach 1.8 million engaged viewers
Phase Two: Using What We Know to Sell Mac N’ Cheese
The first phase of the campaign surfaced a wealth of information. We discovered that what worked best was using TikTok Spark Ads (instead of Integrated Videos), content with a comedic twist, and creators with an audience of 500,000 + followers.
We used all these factors for the next phase of Wienerschnitzel’s campaign, which was dedicated to building hype around its limited edition Mac N’ Cheese.
Here’s what went down:
• Generated 10 million views
• Achieved a 6.65% engagement rate
• Delivered retargeted TikTok Spark Ads to reach 2 million engaged viewers
Halfway through the campaign, Wienerschnitzel sold out of its Mac N’ Cheese nationwide. And while we can’t 100% confirm that our campaign was responsible…it’s a pretty wild coincidence. 🙃
Overall Results and Campaign Insights
Influencer Campaign Performance:
Here are Wienerschnitzel’s final results after collaborating with 47 creators:
• 42 million impressions (and counting 😉)
• 74,000 website clicks
• $0.72 CPC
• 6.49% engagement rate
Paid Media Performance (TikTok Spark Ads)
• Budget of less than $21,000
• 8.3 million unique audience reach
• $2.41 average CPM
• $0.90 CPC
Let the creator’s imagination run wild. 🗯 The highest-performing videos were the ones that had minimal creative guardrails. Full creative freedom lets the creators think outside the box, resulting in thumb-stopping content. To name just a few examples:
➜ In Harry Jowsey’s TikTok, he takes a helicopter to travel to Wienerchnitzel. The video is now at 1.5 million views and keeps climbing.
➜ TikToker Johny Valentine cosplayed as a Wienerschnitzel employee and gave a customer a $1,000 gift and Wienerschnitzel’s limited edition meatball sandwich (3.8 million views).
➜ TikTok couple Robby and Penny played a skit where Robby served Penny his “own” Mac N’ Cheese — but it was really the Chili Mac N’ Cheese from Wienerschnitzel (2.2 million views).
Spark Ads continues to be an influencer marketing best-kept secret. 💥 When done well, Spark Ads can amplify impressions and click-throughs to a large scale. The Mac and Cheese Spark Ad phase led to 23,160 clicks to Wienerschnitzel’s website.
The mere exposure effect is your friend. 👁 Wienerschnitzel chose to have its creators film the restaurant for a reason. The more familiar a person becomes with your brand, logo, restaurant, etc, the more likely they are to develop a preference for it.
What’s in Wienerschneitzel’s Future
So, how’s Wienerschnitzel doing today? We’re proud to report they’ve grown their TikTok page by over 5,000% and continue collaborating with individual creators from past campaigns. Solid, long-lasting relationships with creators who’ve already proven capable of delivering results? We love to see it. 🤝
“I love your company. I love working with you guys, it’s super simple. I like the returns we are getting on it.” — Doug Koegeboehn, Wienerschnitzel CMO
Wienerschnitzel plans to run more TikTok campaigns once its new promotions and food specials hit the scene. And once they do, we’ll be there. Because here at Ubiquitous, our plan is to continue helping you grow well after you’ve hit that first patch of success. We won’t stop until your brand is a household name (hey, we’re called Ubiquitous for a reason).
Want to see what magic we can create together? Shoot us a line right here. 💫