Two-Way Street

PR, social media, events and incentives – Collaboration & communication ideas for demanding businesses from The Castle Group's Mark O'Toole

Posts Tagged ‘Friendly's’

Happy 75th anniversary, Friendly’s

Posted by thecastlegroup on July 21, 2010

Castle VP Hilary Allard shares her Friendly’s memories in honor of the company’s 75th anniversary.

I’m from Western Massachusetts – a part of the state sometimes only known to Bostonians as the pass-through on the way to New York.  (West-bound Mass Pike travelers will know this iconic shrub sign.)

The region is dotted with quaint downtowns, farms and some of the best colleges in the country.  There aren’t many major companies there, but Friendly’s is one of them.  They were celebrating their 75th anniversary this week, and I was there to generate local press coverage.  

Long before I worked with Friendly’s on PR, I was a Friendly’s waitress.  I wore this uniform during one summer break from college (not my actual uniform, but one at corporate headquarters).  It was one of the hardest jobs I have ever had and, as a result, I always tip 20 percent.

The money was good – $100 in tips during Sunday breakfast! – and I saw first-hand the power of this brand.  Although my restaurant was part of a chain, customers used it as their local diner – a place to catch up with friends and neighbors.

That feeling was reflected at the company’s anniversary celebration yesterday as current and former employees, including the founders and early executives, gathered to share memories and, of course, celebrate with some ice cream.

It was a great day for the company, and, personally, I was proud to be a part of it.

See coverage from Friendly’s hometown paper, The Springfield Republican, here:

Do you have Friendly’s memories? Are you a former (or current) employee?

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Monday Morning Intern: All play and no work? Social media for business

Posted by thecastlegroup on June 22, 2009

We asked our summer PR intern, Emily Grund, to write a weekly column talking about her internship experience at The Castle Group. Please tune in Mondays to hear about Emily’s latest intern adventures.


There is a common misconception as social media becomes the new medium to gather and share information for businesses that younger generations must lead older generations to understand the importance of this phenomenon. To be honest it has taken me, a 21-year-old senior at UMass, a lot of convincing as to why Twitter is so great, while Mark O’Toole, SVP of The Castle Group, has hundreds of followers.

Until working at The Castle Group, I also had trouble envisioning how I could actually apply Facebook to work. After all, since its inception, teachers, advisers and the like have warned us against the dangers of mixing these social websites with the professional world. Now, we must use them for our jobs, just in different ways than what we’re used to.

In other words, I am familiar with social media and its functions but still need advice from experienced employers on how to make it work for their company. This is a transition for everyone and we all need to work together through this ever-changing platform.

For a long time people have written about social media – how it’s changing, what the future holds and so on. In fact there is a whole website, Mashable, dedicated to relaying such news. My biggest question while reading these articles or learning these new technologies is how will they apply to my job? When is this “future” going to happen? The most current example is the Iran election; the impact that everyone had written about is finally coming true in both positive and negative ways.

For me, it’s been an ongoing learning process at my internship. Below are a few examples of how I’ve used social media so far.

Mom Blogs – For my first project, Stacy Nartker, account executive at The Castle Group, assigned me to clip and compile all the coverage for Friendly’s Free Ice Cream Day. To my surprise, much of the coverage came from mom bloggers who post coupons and freebie deals. Before this internship, I did not know such a community existed in the social media world. Now I’ve learned they are practically running the show! Many of the moms have Twitter handles as well, in essence making them viral marketers, passing on information useful to them in a resourceful way. The lesson learned here is that bloggers are an efficient way to pitch stories to a specific audience.

Facebook – Also connected to Free Ice Cream Day was the Friendly’s “What Ice Cream Treat Are You?”quiz. This got a lot of attention for the Friendly’s page on Facebook, including yours truly (I’m a Fribble!). With hundreds of quizzes available to take on Facebook, most of them appear to be for fun, but what I learned is if you can tie it to a marketing campaign it can definitely pay off.

Twitter – As I mentioned before, it didn’t settle well with me at first. However, in the work world, this is the head honcho of professional social media and has quickly become a part of my daily life. The Castle Group uses it to help promote clients, and to pitch and find story ideas, while simultaneously helping clients build their Twitter feeds as well. One assignment I had recently was to help research interesting and useful people for a client to follow. By constantly knowing what’s important to The Castle Group’s clients and their audiences, it helps us in PR know how to reach those audiences successfully.

It is still a strange feeling to have work assignments employing social media sites that I once used for purely social reasons. However, through each assignment I learn valuable lessons about how the company and I can use social media to share information in order to reach business goals.


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Friendly’s Free Ice Cream Day

Posted by thecastlegroup on June 4, 2009

Thanks to our kid participants this morning on Fox 25 on behalf of client Friendly’s and its upcoming Free Ice Cream Day this Saturday, June 6, all day long. Check out the TV segment clip here:

Friendly's on Fox

And take our Facebook Ice Cream Personality Test here:

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Sundae Driver

Posted by thecastlegroup on May 19, 2009

Do you know what kind of ice cream sundae you are? The Castle Group’s client Friendly’s wants to know.

Take our new Facebook quiz for Friendly’s to find out.


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