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Thursday, Jun 8, 2023

Tennis Star Serves Up Slice of Pie

Polish tennis star Agnieszka “Aga” Radwanska spent her 25th birthday on March 6 chowing down with her friends on the Cheesecake Factory Inc.’s Oreo Dream Extreme. She tweeted about it just two days after signing an agreement with the Calabasas-based casual dining chain, which made her the company’s first celebrity spokesperson in its 36-year history. Not exactly cutting edge in the fast-moving world of social-media marketing. But the way she landed her gig is more noteworthy. The top ten player said she often dines at Cheesecake when in the United States and has been quoted by the media for her blog mentions about how much she enjoys the eatery. “I genuinely am one of the biggest Cheesecake Factory fans out there,” Radwanska wrote in an email to the Business Journal. “So the association is such a great and real thing for me.” Radwanska has always been an “unofficial brand ambassador,” is how Cheesecake spokeswoman Anna Whitlow put it. Last year, Radwanska’s management approached the restaurant to try to work out a deal to see if the company “would be able to do anything for her,” Whitlow said. “After talking with them, we thought it would be fun to formalize a relationship.” The majority of Radwanska’s promotions for the dining chain will consist of social media conversations and sponsored appearances. On her birthday, the tennis star hosted a Twitter conversation with followers. She also appeared at the Rancho Mirage restaurant, close by to the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells Tennis Garden, where she served 25 slices of her favorite cheesecake to some of her fans. She also was seen sporting a visor with the Cheesecake Factory’s logo during the tournament. “It was really fun and Aga seemed to really enjoy herself,” Whitlow said. “We were really set on doing things that would celebrate Aga’s authentic love for our brand, while also giving some of our guests an opportunity to meet her.” Aljolynn Sperber, social media manager with Marketing Maven Public Relations in Camarillo, said signing Radwanska was no sure bet since she’s not a household name and has just more than half the number of Twitter followers (79,600) than the brand itself (152,000). “(But) Cheesecake Factory definitely actively listens to what is being said about them online, which is what every brand should be doing,” Sperber said. – Stephanie Forshee

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