The start of springtime and the start of the second quarter has opened new advertising windows for several of the restaurant industry’s largest advertisers.
In the past week, Wendy’s, Domino’s Pizza, Dairy Queen and Fazoli’s have introduced new television commercials showing a fresh take on sales-building initiatives that the brands have been brewing for months.
Each of the four brands is tying the new spots to the promotion of certain menu items, but each commercial also represents a new step in the brands’ marketing strategies, including a new tagline for Wendy’s, moving from “yes” to “no” at Domino’s, extending the “So good it’s RiDQlous” campaign for Dairy Queen, and unveiling “A Whole New Fazoli’s.”
Wendy’s, Domino’s and Dairy Queen began airing their commercials this week, and Fazoli’s will start broadcasting its new spots Monday.
Wendy’s gets ‘Better’ tagline
Wendy’s latest commercial for its Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club carries the brand’s new tagline, “Now That’s Better.” Brand spokesman Denny Lynch confirmed the slogan will be Wendy’s tagline going forward, though Wendy’s has not yet announced when a new marketing campaign will run.
At an investor conference in January, chief executive Emil Brolick first hinted that Wendy’s would debut a new marketing campaign in the second quarter. Brolick disclosed that the brand had run more than 55 commercials with the “You Know When It’s Real” tagline since October 2009, making it the most successful campaign since the passing of chain founder and spokesman Dave Thomas.
Up to his death in 2002, Thomas filmed more than 700 commercials for Wendy’s, and the chain struggled to find a coherent marketing voice after losing him. One attempt with a new spokesman, Mr. Wendy, lasted only nine commercials, and Brolick called the 24 “red wig” commercials from the middle of last decade “embarrassing.”
New commercials will advertise Wendy’s product quality, which Brolick said during the chain’s fourth-quarter earnings call would position Wendy’s to compete with fast-casual competitors and fend off McDonald’s attempts to outflank the brand with commercials focused on their suppliers.
Watch a commercial featuring the new tagline; story continues below
“We have to be in that space, sharing what makes us different and what makes us better,” Brolick said during the call, “and there will be a component of that in our new advertising campaign that is designed to deal specifically with that, along with the traditional need to drive sales through product innovation.”
Dublin, Ohio-based Wendy’s also recently hired Craig Bahner as its chief marketing officer.
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Putting the ‘no’ in Domino’s
Domino’s Pizza unveiled a new commercial this week to advertise the newest variety of its Artisan Pizzas line: the Chicken & Bacon Carbonara.
The Ann Arbor, Mich.-based chain has credited much of its sales growth the past two years to the brand turnaround chronicled in its “Oh Yes We Did” campaign. But unlike most of the spots Domino’s has run the past two years, this new commercial doesn’t feature Domino’s executives keeping it real on camera. Rather, the spot has a more lighthearted approach, in that the brand is saying “no” to any customer requests for modifications to the Artisan Pizzas line.
Chief marketing officer Russell Weiner said in a statement that Domino’s has always said “yes” to customers over the years, enabling 34 million ways to customize a pizza.
“But our Artisan Pizza isn’t just any pizza,” he said. “What makes our four Artisan Pizza recipes special is that each was meticulously designed by our chefs to have the perfect balance of ingredients. If we put anything else on this pizza, it wouldn’t be artisan.”
Spokesman Chris Brandon added in a call with Nation’s Restaurant News that previous ads for the Artisan Pizza line showed customers give the chain credit for being able to pull off a “gourmet pizza,” giving Domino’s the confidence to playfully tell them “no” only a month after asking for their input in the “Think Oven” campaign.
“The Artisan Pizza is more of a recipe than anything we do,” Brandon said. “We’re confident in these recipes.”
Domino’s also will promote the new Chicken & Bacon Carbonara option with a giveaway promotion on Facebook Monday. The brand plans to give away 75,000 Artisan Pizzas.
Dairy Queen copies winning formula
Dairy Queen is keeping its “So Good It’s RiDQlous” tagline from the commercials of the past two years, but new spots going forward will replace its mustachioed spokesman with ordinary people doing extraordinary things to eat at Dairy Queen.
The first spot, “Gary DQloned himself,” shows a man who clones himself so that his copy can hold down the job at work while he heads to Dairy Queen for the Minneapolis-based chain’s Chicken Strip Basket. Of course, the clone shows up wanting the same thing, and hilarity ensues.
Watch "Gary DQloned himself; story continues below
“The Dairy Queen brand is the difference between good and unbelievable, and that comes across in a big way in our commercials,” Barry Westrum, the chain’s executive vice president of marketing, said in a statement.
Similar spots will debut in May and June to promote the Confetti Cake Blizzard and Sweet Apple BBQ Grillburger, respectively, Dairy Queen said. The campaign runs through September.
Dairy Queen’s other key marketing initiative is the Oreo Blizzard 100, a social-media scavenger hunt celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Oreo, Dairy Queen’s most popular Blizzard mix-in. The contest runs through August on Facebook.
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Fazoli’s picks four-prong turnaround spot
For Lexington, Ky.-based Fazoli’s, discussing all the initiatives of the past two years that have driven 20 consecutive months of same-store sales growth in a 30-second commercial required the chain to “show, not tell” customers about the “Whole New Fazoli’s.”
The ad, which will begin airing Monday, takes place in a newly refurbished restaurant and highlights the four prongs of the quick-service Italian chain’s turnaround: remodeled stores, an enhanced menu, new table service, and real plateware and silverware.
Watch the "Whole New Fazoli's" commercial; story continues below
“The last TV campaign we did was ‘The Return to Real Food,’ where the fork was the star, and we wanted some continuity with that,” chief marketing officer Cathy Hull said. “We had four strong messages to convey to our guests, and we needed to get inside a restaurant to demonstrate it.”
She added that the brand dropped a print advertisement March 29 to seed some awareness for the new marketing campaign and to pre-empt Easter. In the past week, same-store sales rose by low double digits and guests counts increased in the high single digits, said chief executive Carl Howard.
“We’ve seen guest frequency improve already because they’re getting a better product in a refreshed environment,” Howard said. “It’s a really unique environment we’re giving guests at our check average.”
The brand will look to retain the increased traffic from new advertising with a hospitality training program that coaches cashiers to become menu experts and help customers order as if they were casual-dining servers, he added. The upgrade also would have more managers on the floor, visiting with guests.
Hull said the new commercials did not represent a large incremental investment in marketing dollars, but did reallocate some funds to TV and shifted some media buying up into the second quarter.