We Walked 30 Blocks for a Cupcake

It took an afternoon of trekking up and down Chicago's Gold Coast (and beyond), but I am officially a Sprinkles Cupcakes convert. Truth be told, I'm more than a convert. I'm a head over heels fan. I'll confess that my first experience with Sprinkles in NYC was just so-so. Our cupcakes were kind of dry and I wasn't swept away by their flavor. But over the past few weeks, engagement with their brand has changed my tune. I am now singing the praises of "the original cupcake bakery."

Brilliant Branding - Sprinkles Cupcakes

My love affair with the company started when Sara at Project Soiree posted the Sprinkles March Madness cupcake bracket on her blog's Facebook page. Being the joiner that I am, of course I filled out my bracket and sent it into the company hoping (and not expecting) to win the fabulous prize. Turns out, my bracket is pretty stinking accurate. I've picked all the way down to the final two. (I'm guessing I've chosen the tournament champion too... but I'm still waiting for the results to be posted. **fingers crossed**) It got me thinking. I, like millions of others, am just wild about cupcakes. But despite my initial so-so experience with this company's product, the brand engaged me and got me excited. I decided to do some further research.

I found Sprinkles on Facebook and quickly "liked" their fan page. I visited the company's website and learned more about Candace Nelson, the company's founder, and her vision for Sprinkles. The playful, modern design of the company's logo, their focus on sustainability and Nelson's insistence on quality ingredients all began to chip away at my initial luke warm impression of this cupcake giant. Next thing you know, I'm adding The Food Network's Cupcake Wars to my DVR's "to do" list.

Line outside Sprinkles - Chicago

But I'm sure you're wondering what on Earth could posses me to walk 30 blocks for a cupcake? Here's the story. Each day, in another brilliant bit of marketing, Sprinkles Cupcakes offers up "whisper words." Be the first fifty customers to whisper those words to a Sprinkles cupcake associate and you walk away with a FREE cupcake. "Free Cupcake." Is there any sweeter combination of words in the English language? 

On Friday afternoon the hubby and I were out wandering, as we are prone to do. Knowing we were up in the Gold Coast area, I remembered that about this time everyday the "whisper words" were published. I checked the Sprinkles Chicago Facebook page and there was nothing. We decided to try to find the shop and keep waiting for the update. Have I mentioned we are new to Chicago? Have I mentioned we are really terrible at reading maps? Well, since both of those things are true, we ended up walking up and down Rush Street looking for a shop that is actually on East Walton. Not our most brilliant endeavor to this point.

By the time the "whisper words" were posted and we actually located the phenomenally designed storefront, we found a line out the door and down the block! I'm not going to lie. I was impressed and worried.

The Prize - FREE Sprinkles Cupcake

Thankfully, we got up to the counter and snagged two FREE milk chocolate cupcakes. It was just in time too, since only three or four little bags remained and the line behind us seemed to keep growing and growing. Despite the excitement the 30 block cupcake adventure had created, I was prepared to be disappointed in the product. By this point we were hungry from all the walking and the whole process had set our expectations high. Plus, fifty free cupcakes? Everyday? We wondered if they'd be day-old or maybe "oopsy" mistake cupcakes. 

Milk Chocolate Sprinkles Cupcake

But we were dead wrong. The free cupcakes we got on Friday were delicious. The cake was moist and rich and its icing was sweet without going overboard. I was impressed. This simple milk chocolate cupcake was worthy of the hype. I stood corrected with my mouth full of yummy goodness. Though I was initially wooed by a wise brand using social marketing in smart and engaging ways, ultimately I was impressed by a product that exceeded my expectations.

If you aren't already a "fan" of Sprinkles Chicago (or any of the Sprinkles locations near you), I implore you to find them on Facebook. Pay attention to their "whisper words" and take advantage of their daily free cupcake giveaway. If you're smart you won't even have to walk thirty blocks to take one home. But, the good news is, even if you do it will be worth every step!

What treat would you walk thirty blocks to get in your belly?