In one spot, a woman undergoes the horrific "dress-tangled-and-mangled-in-a-shopping-mall-escalator" humiliation so many of us fear. She covers herself up with her shopping bags as a basket of O'Charley's rolls magically appears before her. Mollified, she asks, "Is it cold in here, or is it just me?"
Dawn Boulanger, O'Charley's vice president/marketing, tells Marketing Daily the company began researching a new approach because it needed to find a way to stand out from a competitive forest of casual-dining ads that all feature beauty shots of food. "Part of the whole discussion around the new campaign was a need to have something different, because we could have taken all of the competitive spots, put them together, and they all looked the same."
She adds that although the rolls are central images, each of the spots focuses on a particular promotion, and that there will be three TV spots initially, growing to six spots over the course of the campaign. "It's the most comprehensive campaign we have ever done."
Next week, the company launches therolls.com, which, among other things, includes a game wherein site visitors can slice--virtually--into a roll with a knife. There's also a contest on the site, as well as streaming digital versions of the spots and a bit of mythologizing via an animated fable showing how O'Charley's roll becomes a "roll" model for the industry.
"What began as an advertising campaign has mushroomed into a fully integrated marketing program that resonates completely throughout the company," said Jeff Warne, O'Charley's concept president, in a release.
He said the campaign is consequent to a focus-group study of customers who "just lit up about the rolls when we asked them to identify what they associate most with the O'Charley's experience."
The company recently completed an eight-city tour to its restaurants, teaching managers about the new campaign, focusing on roll preparation and service to the guest and introducing its new beverage program.