Select Applebee’s franchisees throughout the Philadelphia region were enjoying the brand’s reputation as a family-oriented restaurant, but wanted to expand their collective image as a community partner. The stores were already supporting Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and its mission to raise funds to support pediatric cancer research, but asked DDCworks for ideas to generate more awareness and buzz about their charitable efforts, and strengthen their community relations.

The PR team at DDCworks conceived and executed a unique event—The World’s Largest Lemonade Toast (sort of!)—to generate extra attention from restaurant patrons, the media, Alex’s supporters, and concerned citizens. As word spread about the concept, additional Applebee’s stores nationwide joined in, eventually totaling more than 200 participating units. To carry the impact of the program outside the restaurants themselves, DDCworks developed a communications plan that included both traditional PR tactics and a significant social media component.

Through our efforts, Applebee’s message reached over 3.6 million Facebook users, with strong engagement that included approximately 6,600 likes, and hundreds of comments and shares on other sites. On Twitter, the Applebee’s lemonade toast reached over 247,000 unique users, and generated 1.8 million impressions. In addition, people like NYC celebrity chef @guarnaschelli joined the dialogue using our hashtag #alexslemonadetoast. Traditional media relations efforts paid off as well, with more than 74 million unique impressions generated across nearly 300 media outlets nationwide.