What is in this article?:
- Restaurants ramp up advertising after election
- Differentiating in a crowded space
This year's fourth-quarter ad push comes with added pressure due to the 2012 Presidential campaigns.
The normal fourth-quarter promotional rush has collided with the post-election window to start advertising again, making restaurant marketers exceptionally busy as dozens of chains roll out new campaigns and menu items.
Restaurants are not the only brands debuting new campaigns in the past week, as everybody looking to move sales traditionally makes a large end-of-year push, said Jeff Fromm, executive vice president of Kansas City, Mo.-based ad agency Barkley.
“It works in this way because it’s the fourth quarter, and demand is really high for most retail advertisers coming into the holidays,” Fromm said. “Think of all the big marketers that will spend significant amounts of money from now till the end of the year.”
But this year's fourth-quarter ad push comes with added pressure, since political campaign ads kept brands largely off the air in the months preceding the Nov. 6 national election. “Nobody wants to advertise in the days before the election, when they’re competing with one obnoxious ad after another,” Fromm said. “Honestly, there’s such a drain on ad inventory that it’s not surprising [restaurants pulled back from broadcast ads].”
Coming up for air
Several brands debuted new ad campaigns on Nov. 8, two days after the election, including Bojangles’ Famous‘n Biscuits, who started running two spots starring new spokesman Scotty McCreery, a past winner of “American Idol.”
Bojangles’ had developed the campaign with McCreery’s representation over the summer and had the commercials finalized by late October, but decided to wait on airing them, said Randy Poindexter, senior vice president of marketing for Charlotte, N.C.-based Bojangles’. “We did plan on starting right after the election, because you just get lost in the clutter of all the political ads,” he said. “It didn’t make sense to launch the campaign until after, and then the PR and social-media campaign followed.”
One spot, “Bojangles’ Town,” is a remake of McCreery’s country-music hit “Water Tower Town,” and is a branding spot that also has a seven-second tag at the end for Bojangles’ to promote a pork chop biscuit limited-time offer. The other, “Showtime,” features McCreery and his band enjoying a Big Bo Box combo meal in their dressing room instead of taking the stage before a chanting crowd.
Bojangles’ also is offering free downloads of three tracks off McCreery’s new Christmas album through an in-store promotion.
Other chains going back on the air included Carl’s Jr., which ran a branding spot touting its scratch-made biscuits for itssandwiches, and Little Caesars and Burger 21, which had several new commercials apiece debut in the last two weeks.
Little Caesars’ humorous spots continue the campaign begun earlier this year [http://nrn.com/article/breaking-down-little-caesars-new-tv-campaign] to promote the Hot-N-Ready pizza and to bring back the “Pizza! Pizza!” tagline. One commercial shows a mime successfully ordering a pizza because he does not need to call Little Caesars — he simply could walk in and pick up the Hot-N-Ready.
Burger 21’s commercials are humorous branding spots in which talking burgers discuss some of the new options available at the chain.
McDonald’s also will turn to a menu item to power much of its advertising in the coming weeks, but the sandwich is a popular repeating limited-time offer: the McRib. The chain reportedly will relaunch the sandwich in December.