As part of a nationwide celebratory campaign beginning March 6, Chili’s is unveiling its TikTok account, complete with a brand hashtag—#ChilisBirthday. As part of the promotion, Chili’s will be giving away gift cards and branded merchandise to special TikTok users. To win a $313 gift card, Chili’s is asking app users to post videos of diners being surprised by Chili’s staff singing its signature birthday song—the three videos with the most views on TikTok will win the gift cards. Chili’s is also offering up branded merchandise including special t-shirts and the fan-favorite “Skillet Queso” Bomber jacket.
Although Chili’s is just now joining the TikTok universe, the restaurant brand already has a strong fanbase on the app. The #Chilis hashtag already has over ten million organic mentions—and the brand establishing a verified account will likely increase user engagement. By holding a hashtag-driven contest, Chili’s can foster a younger audience, while encouraging pre-existing fans to pay a visit to the restaurant for the sake of getting a TikTok video. Chili’s can follow in the footsteps of Chipotle—an early TikTok adopter—whose first major promotion on the app garnered over 400 million views, according to a Gartner report on the topic.
More brands will be turning to TikTok to launch campaigns, especially as the platform is poised to grow to 45 million users this year. Chili’s is making its mark on TikTok while the market remains undersaturated with branding, a move other brands may want to emulate in the near future.