As consumers continue to spend record amounts for Easter, marketers should know to never underestimate the power of the bunny. Chocolate and marshmallow bunnies top the list of America’s most popular Easter candies while even unrelated players like Pepsi delighted fans with a fluffy new flavor straight from the Peeps factory itself. White Castle may not be outwardly sweet, fluffy, or fizzy, but it still managed to bet on the bunny this year. Here’s how.
This Easter, the eatery encouraged fans to reimagine its signature burger slider as a template for a rather non-traditional treat in the spirit of the season. Bunny Sliders consist of two tall apple ears, a pair of sweet banana cheeks, some googly olive eyes, a carrot nose, and of course, a mini-marshmallow tail, all sandwiched between two White Castle Cheese Sliders (sans pickles) to build an avant-garde bunny. Though the atypical eat might not feature the most sophisticated flavor palette, White Castle, which is family-owned and boasts more long-term employees than most chains, hopes it made fans smile on a day that might have been a little lonelier than usual. In addition to the revamped recipe, White Castle also offered up its $25 Cravey Boat, a quirky and collectible gravy boat to dress up any dining table. To build buzz, White Castle promoted its Easter offerings across social media, including on Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and TikTok.
Though the initiatives may seem a bit fluffy, they actually demonstrate a method marketers can implement in their post-pandemic plans while also tapping into a few seriously popular trends. Many brands tracked in Gartner’s Digital IQ Index: Restaurants were left with nothing new to promote at the start of the pandemic. Not only does the beloved bunny embody the consumer craving for comfort, it also serves as a token to a more substantial season for brands. White Castle’s Bunny Sliders also reflect the restaurant’s dedication to time-honored traditions, like food repurposing and recipe-swapping. In the past, White Castle charmed consumers with its Slider Robots and Slider Spiders during Halloween, for example.
Additionally, though gravy boats may look a little out of place at modern-day tables, they feed into the consumer-preferred retro trend that has taken several brands in the business by storm, including Burger King and Pizza Hut. The nostalgic nuance isn’t the first time White Castle has featured a blast from the past either. Back in November, the restaurant invited ’90s rapper Coolio to demonstrate its new Slider Stuffing, a nod to the Y2K aspect of the nostalgia trend. White Castle also doubled down on the trend last March when it worked with Coca-Cola to release a set of collectible comic-book cups.
For the brand that often asks itself, “Are we making more friends every day?“, the mushy new move feels wonderfully authentic, but also on-trend. For marketers trying to accurately navigate the evolving post-pandemic playing field, don’t always overthink it. Sometimes, especially these days, all people really want is an edible bunny.