Panera Bread is Really Cooking on Gas!

A hypothetical situation to ponder:


It’s the middle of the night, and you happen to be on your computer. Then while browsing the internet, you stumble across an ad on a website with this amazing perfectly seared steak oozing with creamy Vermont white cheddar and topped with bright pickled red onions all grilled on Hoagie Roll.  Too irresistible to resist, you click on that ad, it links you directly to its website. After that, for the rest of the week, you see Roasted Turkey and Avocado BLT, Roasted Beet-Quinoa&Citrus Salad or Bistro French Onion Soup following you on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and every other social media platforms.


What would you do? Make a dash to that place, maybe?


Let me put you out of your misery. Go to Panera Bread!




Originally founded in 1981, Panera Bread is a fast casual restaurant with more than 2,000 locations across the United States and Canada. It is considered an amazing brand when it comes to the aspect of continued evolution and ability to adapt itself to the market as we saw with the setting of its goal to stop using any artificial ingredients last year with the “No no list” campaign or the launch of its “Rapid Pick-Up Program”. And how does Panera raise awareness of its aforementioned menus and new features?  This is where social media chimes in.


Panera typically spends around $90 million in media annually. Beyond the TV spots, there is radio, out of home ads and online ads including paid social media. Focusing on social media advertising, not only is it a great way to run targeted ads with real-time results but also an effective way to generate higher converting leads and build relationships with the customer. Let’s take a quick look at how Panera is on …


Let’s take the Panera Rapid Pick-Up program for example. To bolster awareness, Panera Bread partnered with creative agency Anomaly and media agency Maxus to develop the ads then ran a video ad campaign that would convey a consistent message over Facebook (also Instagram). Instead of spreading the ads all over the place and running the risk of annoying the audience, Panera maximized Facebook’s core targeting feature’s potentials to direct the ads to a specific group of people who have liked the Panera Page, as well as health and fitness advocates and parents. Not only that, it also targeted people interested in competitor brands. With Facebook, it reached millions of people hitting 8 million video views within only 2 months.



A great example for Panera’s ads on this platform would be a new clean Panera kids’ menu campaign. Why Instagram? Because for this specific campaign, the company aimed to achieve a creative and engaging way to share its Kids Meal Promise. It was a month-long campaign focusing on the idea that kids should know what’s in their food. It was educational in a fun and easy to understand way. The part I especially love about this ad is that ad copy directed its audience to the company’s microsite: where parents could explore Panera’s Kids Meal Promise for themselves. Again, it utilized Facebook’s core targeting tools to target its market.



Advertising in video form is my personal favorite. As people are reading less and have shorter attention spans, video advertising with valuable content is key. YouTube is a unique combination of video access, sharing and creates opportunity for audience engagement. Sight, sound and motion can evoke the emotional involvement with the content that the brand’s trying to convey. In this realm, Panera is epic as its video keeps replaying in the back of my mind. I love the messages it conveys through well-constructed short clips. It is clear, clean, simple, yet intriguing and I would love to see more of Panera ads on YouTube in frequency.  I mean, what could be a better way to make people crave for clean food more than this? However, last time Panera did something like this was a year ago. Panera, I am waiting to see something new here!


My suggestion would be for Panera Bread to be more active on Pinterest. Its account already portrays the brand’s core and food journeys beautifully. With Pinterest ads, it can capture intent and boost engagement with its Pins even more. Pinterest is the channel Panera should not be neglecting as its main users correlate with its target consumer. Also, Twitter can act as a great tool for interacting with the customer and getting the message out. Perhaps advertising there is not such a bad idea.


When it comes to reaching its target audience through social media platforms, Panera Bread definitely deserves a big round of applause. As each of them has its own uniqueness and target audience, Panera is choosing each of them wisely and utilizing it to the fullest extent. Most importantly, it crafts its content in the most engaging and interesting way to captivate us all. It understands its own brand positioning, goals and that reflects in all of Panera Bread’s marketing campaigns.


And now, I’m off   to Panera to satisfy my craving!

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset


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