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Mellow Mushroom Stalks Facebook Fans


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Fans who like or follow Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers on Facebook or Twitter may soon find a stalker on their tail, in the form of a bright yellow mushroom mascot. The unsettling gag is part of a new social media campaign by the Atlanta-based company, home of fresh stone-baked pizzas made to order. Called "Follow Us and We'll Follow You," the campaign is meant to challenge traditional notions of Internet anonymity, the company says. "Just when you think you're safe to lurk and passively watch the rest of the world posting tidbits of their lives online, you're thrust into the spotlight, in a pleasant way, of course." Creative agency Fitzgerald + CO in Atlanta dreamed up the promotion.

We're not sure how pleasant it would be to be followed by a giant mushroom as you shop, exercise or run errands. But a series of videos on YouTube show unsuspecting people doing just that. Through November 11, people can visit www.FollowMellow.com and receive a free half order of pretzels, and the chance to win free pizza for a year, by liking or following Mellow Mushroom. Participants might also be followed themselves by one of two mascots, Mel or Dude, with some set-up help by their family and friends. The "friendly form of pseudo-stalking," as the company calls it,  is videotaped through its conclusion, which is the sharing of a Mellow Mushroom meal between mascot and protagonist.

VP of Brand Development Annica Kreider explains the promotion in high-brow terms: It plays on the Surrealist concept that unexplainable coincidence is central to reality. "It seems highly improbable that shortly after becoming an online fan of a company that you would suddenly find yourself being tailed by its mascot, but life is often made up of funny little coincidences like that," Kreider says. Others might make a different connection if stalked by a giant mushroom, back to their college party days.

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The latest news, opinions and commentary on what's happening in the franchise arena that could affect your business.

Tom KaiserTom Kaiser is senior editor of Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3209, or send story ideas to tkaiser@franchisetimes.com.
 
Beth EwenBeth Ewen is editor-in-chief of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3212, or send story ideas to bewen@franchisetimes.com.
 
Nicholas UptonNicholas Upton is restaurants editor at Franchise Times. He can be reached at 612.767.3226, or send story ideas to nupton@franchisetimes.com.
 
Laura MichaelsLaura Michaels is managing editor of Franchise Times. She can be reached at 612.767.3210, or send story ideas to lmichaels@franchisetimes.com.
 
Mary Jo LarsonMary Jo Larson is the publisher of Franchise Times Magazine and the Restaurant Finance Monitor.  You can find her on Twitter at
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