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Veteran’s Day Cause Marketing with Outback Steakhouse

Holidays are natural hooks for cause marketers to hang their promotions on and Veteran’s Day in the United States is increasingly a favorite peg.

This effort from Outback Steakhouse is a prominent example. On Monday, Nov. 12… Veteran’s Day 2012… and Tuesday Nov. 13, any active duty or military veteran can get a free ‘Bloomin’ Onion’ and a Coca-Cola beverage at any participating Outback Steakhouse location with valid ID, no purchase necessary.

In addition, from Tuesday, Nov 13 through the end of the year, vets and active duty military receive a 10 percent at Outback, again with valid ID.

What are the advantages of pegging your cause marketing to a holiday? The simple answer is that three or four generations of retail promotions centered around the holidays have habituated consumers to the idea.

Sure, back to school sales make sense for August and chocolate promotions for Valentine’s Day. Consequently, those kinds of tie-ins have been around since time immemorial. But if you think grilled steaks sound perfectly suited for a Labor Day or a Memorial Day BBQ it’s because that message has been marketed to you for the last 30 or so years.

Veteran’s Day is a natural for a cause tie-in, especially given the fact that for the last 2-4 years veteran’s causes have ranked the highest when Americans are asked what causes they most care about.

In this case, it is the veterans themselves who are the cause, rather than some mediating veteran’s charity. Outback has an existing relationship with the charity Operation Homefront, which supports active duty and wounded warriors and their families.

Outback activated this effort via email, PR, and some TV (see at left). There is a Facebook component wherein they ask you to tell the stories of military heroes.

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