Of all the companies looking to cash in on the NFL playoffs, it's hard to imagine any are more excited than Buffalo Wild Wings (NASDAQ:BWLD). After all, the beer, wings, and sports specialist regularly discusses specific sporting events during its quarterly conference calls, and often describes American football season as its "favorite time of the year."
The chain has already won big this season. Buffalo Wild Wings stock is up more than 35% during the past three months on the heels of its stellar third quarter, during which fantasy football draft parties maintained the sales momentum carried over from last year's FIFA World Cup.
It also helped that B-Dubs was able to increase promotion of those parties by leveraging its relationship with PepsiCo (NASDAQ:PEP), for which it dumped Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) in late 2013 given Pepsi's long-term exclusive sponsorship agreement with the NFL. In addition, the company noted investors can look forward to the positive impact of one additional Thursday night NFL game this season compared to the same year-ago period.
But make no mistake: Buffalo Wild Wings has no intention of letting up now. To the contrary, Buffalo Wild Wings has ramped its efforts to push as many NFL Playoff-hungry patrons through its doors as possible. And while those efforts naturally include B-Dubs' usual quirky TV spots, this year's campaign also seems to bear an outsized focus on strategically utilizing social media to engage consumers in a more clever, personal way.
Take Buffalo Wild Wings' "*Posts* Post Game Report," for example, which it compiled in less than a day using tweets from anyone who used the hashtag #BWWPostGame as they watched the playoffs last weekend:
The video has already been viewed nearly 300,000 times during the past four days across Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Particularly noteworthy, however, is that the vast majority of those views have come from Facebook, as Buffalo Wild Wings is running paid ads to get it into news feeds.
At the same time, this is a great example of Buffalo Wild Wings being a good steward with its advertising budget. As AdWeek pointed out Thursday," [W]ith more brands ditching expensive in-game TV ads for social media campaigns around the game, the Facebook ads are likely chump change compared to the $4.5 million price tag of a 30-second spot."
Buffalo Wild Wings could also use that extra change. As of its conference call in late October, chicken wing prices had jumped to $1.98 per pound, representing an enormous 32% sequential increase over Buffalo Wild Wings' Q3 average price of $1.50 per pound. Management also stated those prices were expected to remain elevated for at least the remainder of 2014, and potentially into the early part of this year. As a result, Buffalo Wild Wings carefully implemented a 3% menu price increase at the end of November, but didn't expect that to completely recoup its increased costs.
We'll know more about exactly how Buffalo Wild Wings fared during its favorite part of the year when it reports earnings early next month. But in the meantime, if Buffalo Wild Wings' recent social media campaigns are any indication, investors can rest assured the company is doing everything it can to achieve an enjoyable, profitable NFL season.