Smooching for South St.

Would you pucker up for free fries? The burger joint is getting romantic with its latest social push.

Canadian chain South St. Burger Co. is taking its Valentine’s Day “Pucker Up” promotion social this year, tapping into some cheeky bloggers’ online followings and asking customers to share their smoochy selfies online.

The chain has run the campaign since 2011 as an in-store promotion – where customers can share a kiss, or blow one to the cashier for free New York Fries with their meal on Feb. 14.

While some people can find being asked to lock lips overwhelming or unexpected, for the most part, customers find it fun and enjoy participating, says Alyssa Berenstein, marketing director with South St.

People were having fun with the promotion, so this year, the brand took it further with what she calls a more bold approach. In addition to POS materials, the brand has now taken the campaign digital.

Blogger and CBC News journalist Lauren O’Neil, along with lifestyle bloggers Dee Thomson and Casie Stewart brought along their partners to recreate iconic kisses for the campaign, shot by Toronto photographer Geoff Fitzgerald.

The photos play on the spaghetti kiss from Lady and the Tramp, the famous V-J Day sailor kiss, the upside-down Spiderman kiss and the Vancouver riot kiss. Instigator Communications was the primary agency executing the campaign and Jump Branding & Design led online and email blasts.

The pictures now are being used for a social push in the days leading up to the in-store free fries promotion on Valentine’s Day, tapping into the thousands of Twitter followers the bloggers have.

South St. has also woven in a contest element, where customers can take their own kissing selfies on Valentine’s Day at one of the restaurant’s 27 locations and post them on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, with the best one winning $50 in “Burger Bucks.”

“Burgers are not necessarily so romantic, but we are a cheeky brand, so we wanted to participate in the conversation around Valentine’s Day,” Berenstein says.

The campaign’s target for the promotion is anyone who is “socially-minded,” and live their lives on their smartphones, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, she says.

The campaign is also in line with South St.’s move to use social media more to engage with customers, she adds.