After years of campaigns centered on a "Gotta wanna needa getta hava" jingle/theme, regional QSR Bojangles' is unveiling a new approach to conveying fans' unstoppable craving for the brand's "Famous Chicken 'n Biscuits."
TV spots from the chain's new agency, Charlotte, N.C.-based BooneOakley, play off a new catch phrase, "It's Bo time." In each vignette, a very audible stomach growl signals "Bo Time," triggering a frantic rush to the nearest Bojangles'. And in each case, the call interrupts an activity that would otherwise be considered a fairly urgent priority.
For instance, in one of the new 30-second spots, police pull over and collar a stocking-masked suspect, but immediately take him along on a breakneck race to Bojangles', where one cop casually Tasers the crook to keep him quiet while the officers bolt for the order counter. Others show characters compelled to answer the rumbling stomach/"Bo Time" call amid a marriage proposal and a frontier-era incipient baby delivery.
In all of the commercials (the first aired starting June 18), the main action is interspersed with whimsical, surprising chase-scene elements pulled from old TV series footage. For instance, a screaming mime bounces off the front of the speeding police car.
The spots, including 15-second versions, will be rotated over the summer/early fall in Bojangles' markets (465 locations in 11, mostly Southeastern states) on broadcast and Time Warner cable stations, in programming ranging from news and sports to "America's Got Talent." Four more variations on the "Bo Time" theme will be shot in August to air in 2010's second half, reports BooneOakley president Phil Smith.
TV has long been a mainstay of Bojangles' marketing, and its media-buy budget for 2010 is about the same as in past years, according to Smith.
The new campaign (with a broad target age demographic of 18 to 64) quite intentionally preserves the core "voice" and fan-passion message of recent years' advertising, says Smith. "The jingle campaign was very well-regarded, but fans wanted a fresh approach that captures the same essence of their craving and love for the brand," he sums up.
Indeed, says Smith, the level of social media engagement among Bojangles' fans -- and more notably, its unusual pro-activity and positive tenor -- were key inspirations for the new approach. "We were struck by the quality of Bojangles' fan feedback," he says. "So many QSR sites seem to be used as forums to air complaints and dissatisfaction."
Simply increasing the brand's own postings on Facebook -- "basically just to assure fans that we're listening while they're engaging with each other," says Smith -- recently resulted in adding 20,000 new Facebook fans in two months, to bring the total to nearly 110,000. Posting one question (asking fans where Bojangles' should locate its next new restaurant) drew over 500 responses in about an hour, he reports.
Fans aren't quite as active on Twitter, but all social media activity is expected to increase when the brand launches its rebuilt site in coming months, Smith adds.
The "Bo Time" campaign also includes four, 30-second radio ads, outdoor and in-store promotions that will roll out over the summer, according to Smith.
Charlotte-headquartered Bojangles' -- known for "fixin's" like Cajun pinto beans and dirty rice, as well as spicy chicken and fresh buttermilk biscuits -- has changed its core menu little since its founding in 1977 by Jack Fulk and Richard Thomas, and also focuses on providing a "fun, festive and friendly" dining environment. Acquired in 2007 by an investment group led by Falfurrias Capital Partners, the chain saw sales rise 9% last year, to $660 million, according to Advertising Age.
In addition to North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Florida, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, Arkansas, Alabama, New York and Pennsylvania, the chain has locations in China, Honduras, and Mexico. About 300 of its locations are franchised.
Bojangles' is known for supporting regional charities and sponsoring regional sports teams, including the NFL's Carolina Panthers and the NBA's Charlotte Bobcats. In 2008, the chain signed a deal in which Charlotte's Cricket Arena was renamed Bojangles' Coliseum.