Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, which has traditionally billed itself as a family-dining destination for travelers, is now targeting local guests in new television commercials and complementary marketing.
The Lebanon, Tenn.-based brand’s new “Handcrafted by Cracker Barrel” campaign is the chain’s first effort to market itself as a local restaurant option. Throughout its 42-year history, Cracker Barrel has located its restaurants right off the nation’s busiest interstate highways to attract travelers stopping to eat during a long trip.
Developed by Euro RSCG Chicago, two new commercials highlight Cracker Barrel’s made-from-scratch cooking and food quality by showing an animated series of shadowboxes similar to the pieces in the chain’s restaurants.
“The new campaign really captures the multifaceted experience that makes Cracker Barrel special and presents us in a fresh way,” Chris Ciavarra, Cracker Barrel senior vice president of marketing, said. “We’re excited about its potential to drive traffic with both increased frequency from our current guest base, as well as by drawing new guests into our stores.”
Cracker Barrel will reinforce the TV commercials with other marketing pieces, including radio spots, online engagement through Facebook and the brand homepage, country-music releases and a digital checkers game for mobile phones. The radio commercials will feature voices of actors from local theater groups, and both the radio and TV spots feature custom music similar to the country albums Cracker Barrel sells in its retail stores.
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The brand also has increased the reach of its media buying, as national TV and radio spots will run in more than 100 markets during the holiday season. Typically, Cracker Barrel has covered approximately 20 markets for holiday promotions.
“We wanted to capture the authentic and unique Cracker Barrel experience that brings their loyal guest base back again and again and present it in a new way,” Jason Peterson, chief creative officer for Euro RSCG Chicago, said. “We really felt music could play an important role. Cracker Barrel publishes and runs their own record label and has deep roots in country music. So we created unique tracks for each of the commercials, as we saw a great opportunity to blur the lines between contemporary country music and music for a TV commercial.”
Cracker Barrel currently faces a proxy challenge from activist investor Sardar Biglari, whose Biglari Holdings Inc. holds more than 9 percent of the company’s stock, but marketing has not been identified as one of Biglari’s grievances with Cracker Barrel’s board of directors.
Cracker Barrel operates 608 company-owned restaurants in 42 states.