Offbeat Helps The Cheesecake Factory and DoorDash Activate on TikTok with Successful College Athlete Campaign

Case Study
May 4, 2022

Since the ruling on college athlete's profitability on name, image, and likeness – campaigns using collegiate stars have brought outsized results to the brands working with the right partners!

With 10 million viewers tuning in this year alone, March Madness is an epic and utterly gripping time for college sports fans. During this month-long celebration, The Cheesecake Factory and DoorDash saw the opportunity to harness the hype to watch games at home. They approached Offbeat with a request to target younger audiences on TikTok using student-athlete influencers. The clients wanted to specifically showcase the variety of cheesecake options via student athletes influencers from many different sports, demographics, colleges, and regions across the United States.

Pulling on Offbeat’s years of experience creating media for the younger generation, we designed a custom campaign plan that centered the student athlete influencer's audiences and typical content to engage their audiences. The creative liberty and hands-on trend ideation approach is what sets Offbeat apart from others to both our clients and creator partners. Each campaign is tailored precisely to the client's goals, but also to the content creator's niche of content. This is how we are able to consistently over deliver for our partners.

The student-athlete influencer TikTok campaign was active across three weeks and eight unique posts. The campaign achieved a total of over 6.5 million views on branded content, exceeding internal predictions by more than 2 million views! The branded content also achieved a majority of positive sentiment comments in which people listed their favorite cheesecake flavors, or how good the food looked in the video. Some commenters even went so far as to mention that they were going to order as soon as possible.  

@mrbeardeddragon #ad The only thing crazier than March Madness is not using @DoorDash to enjoy @The Cheesecake Factory #DashToCheesecake ♬ Sunrise - Official Sound Studio

How Was This Success Achieved? 

Offbeat began the process by sourcing diverse student-athletes from various schools and sports, from football, to softball, to gymnastics. Our in-house creative trend team then identified on-the-rise content trends that the athletes could tap into in a way that felt natural to their audience. Then, Offbeat gave the influencers the freedom to customize the message, editing, and fine details to fit their following, creating the most organic content possible.

After executing the posts, the branded message was pushed to new heights using a targeted paid strategy. Offbeat activated Spark Ads across TikTok to amplify the organic content to further audiences that the message would resonate with. Each ad provided a click-through link to drive traffic to The Cheesecake Factory page on DoorDash. The paid portion of this campaign boasts a 46% lower CPM than industry averages. Which is a testament to Offbeat's ability to work alongside creators to create content that is engaging to wide audiences as well as effectively target additional users via paid.

@cavindertwins #ad @DoorDash helping us enjoy a slice of madness with @TheCheesecakeFactory 🍰 #DashToCheesecake #cheesecakepartner ♬ AIN'T GONNA STOP - Carol Kay

College Athletes as Micro-Influencers For Your Brand

The NIL, which stands for Name, Image, and Likeness, ruling is a statement by the NCAA that permits college athletes to take payment for promoting a brand on social media or otherwise capitalizing on their image and likeness. This was a landmark decision for both athletes and brands looking to work with hyper-targeted influencers on different social media platforms.

Kim Lestrange, the Head of Partnerships at Offbeat, states, "College athletes are celebrities on campus, and people listen to them and are also very easily influenced by their actions. This campaign was a great example of the new role athletes have in the influencer world and the success that brands can see by activating with them."

Just like micro-influencers, college athletes are a strategic way to reach a niche audience at oftentimes a less expensive rate. Several student-athletes already have a strong base of loyal followers. For example, Fresno State twin basketball stars, Haley and Hanna Cavinder, currently have 4 million followers on TikTok; and were one of the first student-athletes to use this opportunity.

The advantage of partnering with student-athletes is that they have a strong, authentic relationship with their viewers. Their small but deeply connected audience trusts them and in turn, is more likely to trust your brand. 

Overall, this campaign successfully reached the goal of integrating DoorDash and The Cheesecake Factory into the hype of March Madness. This is one of the first steps into the world of activating with college athletes all the opportunities that come with it.

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