Moe's Southwest Grill In Two Campaign Firsts

Moes-tv-spot-outtake-BMoe’s Southwest Grill has launched its first national television campaign. 

The spots also include tags highlighting the chain’s offering Coca-Cola’s Freestyle vending machine -- making Moe’s the first brand to advertise the machine nationally.

Two new 30-second TV spots began running on March 11. The first four-week flight, targeting 42 million impressions, includes CBS Sports (“Bracket Week,” “Full Court Press” and “March Madness” programming); E!’s “Prime Rotator”; and ESPN News’s “Sportscenter.” The spots will begin a second four-week flight in mid-June. Moe’s’ media agency is Engauge.



Moe’s, launched in 2000 in Atlanta, has now reached the critical mass needed to make a national TV advertising buy cost-effective, explains CMO Paul Macaluso. The chain has 492 locations (500 as of next month) in more than 30 states, currently concentrated on the Eastern Seaboard and in the Southeast in particular. On average, the chain has been opening a store every six days (54 last year, with 65 planned for this year).

The new campaign’s goal is reaching consumers who enjoy the fast-casual Mexican category but haven’t yet tried Moe’s, with messaging emphasizing its customizable menu and its brand positioning of “celebrating originality,” says Macaluso.

The TV creative (viewable on YouTube) -- which, like all creative, is produced by Moe’s’ in-house team -- tells stories about interesting individuals, mixing some animated elements with live actor footage taken in a Moe’s location.  

One spot features an adventurous young guy (“Ryan”) who’s “always viewed things differently,” is into skydiving, and recently had a jump where he narrowly escaped a brush fire in a cornfield. “Ever since, he’s added Moe’s’ fresh-roasted corn pico to his burrito,” the voiceover notes. Animation is used to superimpose skydiving gear on Ryan and floating clouds in the background, as he’s shown ordering and making up his burrito. 

The second spot shows fashion designer “Zoe” visiting a Moe’s with her daughter. The narrator explains that she’s always looking for inspiration: “In Spain, she stumbled upon ‘the world’s greatest tomato fight,’ which shaped her new line – and her love of Moe’s freshly made seasonal salsas.” Playful animated elements include tomato splotches and one of Zoe’s designs appearing on a nearby customer. 

Each main spot ends with the message: “At Moe’s, we know everyone is original, so we offer more than 20 fresh ingredients to make burritos and other creations as unique as you are.”

This is followed by a five-second tag (created by Coca-Cola) showing the Freestyle machine and the message: “Drink up the originality of 100+ brands from Coca-Cola Freestyle.”

Why the Freestyle add-on? Having tested the machines, Moe’s has been rolling them out, and they’re now in most of its locations, according to Macaluso. “They tie in with our creativity positioning, and they’ve driven sales for us,” he reports.

Coca-Cola (engaged in a major, ongoing push to get Freestyles into restaurant chains and other venues) is “excited” by Moe’s inclusion of the tag with its spots, notes Macaluso. 

The new campaign also includes digital display ads, social media ad buys, radio in local markets and social media engagement support.

As previously reported by Marketing Daily, Moe’s has been aggressive about creative uses of social media and mobile -- employing frequent promotions and contests tied to themes on its Facebook and Twitter presences, and innovating a nationwide, cross-platform club last summer that rewards customers for checking in on either Facebook or Foursquare at any of its U.S. locations. 

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