campaign tactics

I'm Local Farmin' It: McDonald's Goes Down on the Farm in New Campaign

Posted by Dale Buss on December 15, 2011 05:01 PM

Over the past few years, McDonald's has touted everything from value pricing to new product lines to continue to get people through the doors of its restaurants. On January 2nd, the world's biggest fast food chain will join competitors in attempting a new type of pitch in America: talking about where its ingredients come from.

While McDonald's has committed to promoting sustainable farming in Europe, taking a "farm-to-fork" approach in America may seem a stretch. After all, the restaurant chain doesn't deal directly with "local" farmers and ranchers but only with big suppliers such as Cargill, Lamb Weston and Coca-Cola.

But McDonald's U.S. executives have seen rivals such as Wendy's and Chipotle get some traction with down-on-the-farm marketing. And they acknowledge that "there are questions about where our food comes from," as McDonald's U.S. CMO Neil Golden put it this week, according to Ad Age.Continue reading...

chew on this

McDonald's Is Lovin' Its Global Heyday

Posted by Dale Buss on December 9, 2011 05:05 PM

McDonald's may be dealing with Happy Meal fallout from San Francisco to Sao Paulo, but the much bigger picture is this: The iconic brand of American-style fast food is rolling up big sales gains around the globe.

True, the chain's venerable Happy Meal remains under attack by nutrition advocates worldwide. McDonald's seems to be getting around an anti-Happy Meal ordinance in San Francisco simply by charging parents a dime for the toy (which the company then forwards to its Ronald McDonald House charity in San Francisco), though in Brazil, the government has slapped McDonald's with a $1.8-million fine for giving away toys as part of its McLanche Feliz.

But aside from that chink in its armor, McDonald's seems to be doing nearly everything else right. Overall, the chain has the value proposition and strong brand image to perform well despite weak consumer confidence in Europe and beyond, according to a new evaluation of the company by the Fitch ratings service.Continue reading...

trademark wars

It's a Shame About Ray's: New York Pizza Spat Leads to Occupy Ray's

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 9, 2011 10:01 AM

There are so many different Ray’s Pizzas in New York, it can get a little confusing. You got your Ray’s, your Original Ray’s, your Famous Ray’s, your Famous Original Ray’s, and seemingly on and on. They are so ubiquitous that there is actually a pizza place in Brooklyn that is called Not Ray’s Pizza.

It’s been so ridiculous for so many years that the problem actually got a mention on a Seinfeld episode in which a lost Kramer calls Jerry:

Kramer: I’m looking at Ray’s Pizza. You know where that is?

Jerry: Is it Famous Ray’s?

Kramer: No, it’s Original Ray’s.

When you have confusion like that between businesses, lawsuits are bound to follow. And indeed they have.Continue reading...

branding together

Coca-Cola Freestyle Soon to Rule All Burger King Beverages

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 8, 2011 01:59 PM

About 120 Burger Kings across the nation currently use the high-tech Coca-Cola Freestyle beverage dispenser system to provide drinks to its customers.

The Miami-based Burger King just announced that it plans to roll Freestyle out into all of its more than 850 locations, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.

Since it was acquired by private investor group 3G Capital Management last year, Burger King has been more adventurous in testing out new menu items. The addition of Freestyle has allowed BK consumers the “option of customized drinks from more than 100 brands using touch-screen technology,” NRN reports.

“The ability to customize your own beverages combined with the quality that Coca-Cola Freestyle delivers to our guests is a perfect addition to our most recent menu offerings,” said Steve Wiborg, president of Burger King Corp.’s North America division.

This will make Burger King the largest franchise to install Coca-Cola's Freestyle fountain drink dispenser across all of its locations. That is, if it beats Five Guys Burgers and Fries to the punch.Continue reading...

design watch

Burger King Tries Muted Style in Singapore

Posted by Dale Buss on December 7, 2011 01:01 PM

Comfy couches, muted colors, flower-pot lampshades — does that sound like Burger King to you? Well, the Miami-based chain indeed is experimenting with those decorating concepts at a new spot it just opened, called Garden Grill, in Singapore. It's meant to be more alluring to families than the chain's traditionally "louder" color story and trappings.

The menu remains the same as BK's fare worldwide but oh, that ambience! There is crisp, clean wood throughout, from the tables and chairs to the ceiling. And no color brighter than a sort of chartreuse is anywhere to be seen. If we didn't know any better, we'd swear that Burger King is trying to catch up with McDonald's overhaul of the inner decor of its restaurants at many locations worldwide.

Burger King isn't planning to bring the Garden Grill concept (by Outofstock design) to the United States, at least anytime soon. Do you think they could move the King to Singapore too? More images below:Continue reading...


Anthony's Pizza & Pasta Has Mile-High Ambitions

Posted by Michael Waltzer on November 28, 2011 01:01 PM

We often write about bigger brands, so it's good to remind ourselves (and our readers) about what smaller brand marketers are doing on (naturally) smaller budgets to keep their brands top of mind.

Forget showing paid-to-be-happy employees talking about how much they love their jobs slinging pizza. Anthony's Pizza & Pasta, which operates 26 franchise locations in Denver, Colo., has the real take on good local pizza. Its latest local branding effort is broken up into two campaigns, each containing five 15-second commercials that can be mixed and matched.

One is called "Bad Comedy," which features a pizza slice telling jokes into a mic, but the jokes don't cut it. Each failed joke is followed by "Pizza shouldn't be a joke." The other one is called "Good Pie," which features Anthony's chefs preparing and cooking pizzas, with lines like "Most fast food chains don't toss their pizza. Why? Because it requires skill." All end with the tagline "Hand tossed by the slice, or by the pie," and "Anthony's authentic New York-style pizza."

It's not just a ploy to sell more pie to Mile High residents, but to see whether TV is the more cost effective medium for the chain which, prior to the TV switch, mostly used outdoor and transit advertising. Creative credits go to Anthony's agency, Cultivator, including creative director/copywriter Tim Abare, art directors Jeremy Pruitt and Chris Beatty, and copywriter Jen Reis. The campaign's director is Bret Bertholf of Denver-based production company Incite Films.

We'll keep you posted how the campaign goes, but any feedback you'd want to share with Anthony's and its agency, post your thoughts in the comments below.

celebrity brandmatch

Ellen DeGeneres Opening Vegan Restaurant

Posted by Mark J. Miller on November 9, 2011 12:02 PM

Daytime TV doyenne Ellen DeGeneres started writing a blog earlier this year to help those who are trying to transition to a meat-free diet. It looks like she’ll be able to make a good restaurant recommendation soon.

Showbiz Spy reports that the comedian-turned-talkshow host and her wife, actress Portia de Rossi, along with Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders fame and producer Steve Bing are all investing in a new vegan restaurant that will open in California’s San Fernando Valley.Continue reading...

chew on this

Is Bojangles' Big Bo Box the Fountain of Youth?

Posted by Dale Buss on October 31, 2011 05:03 PM

This time of year, the bloom is off the rose of football tailgating, so to speak. The golden tinge of early fall in many stadium parking lots already has turned to the dreary drenchings of mid-autumn. Many teams have losing records, and fan enthusiasm is more difficult to come by. And, yes, many tailgaters are sick of yet another 11 a.m. serving of slow-cooked chili consumed out of a styrofoam boal with a side of warm beer.

Take heart! at least in the 10 southeastern states where it does business, Bojangles Restaurants is coming to the rescue! The chain's new Big Bo Box combination special, priced at $19.99, is a box that conveniently holds various large meal combinations including chicken, biscuits, "fixin's" and even iced tea. With a handy handle for transport, the Big Bo Box can rescue many a tailgate party — or meals at the office or at home.Continue reading...

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