Arby's Restaurant Group Inc. is undergoing a brand transformation effort complemented by a new advertising campaign and logo, as well as new products and a planned restaurant makeover.
The campaign's messaging – "Slicing Up the Truth About Freshness" – focuses on Arby's nearly 50-year-old heritage of freshly slicing meat in restaurants every day, which differentiates the brand from other chains. Crispin Porter + Bogusky, which was named Arby's agency of record in February, created the campaign.
"The fact that Arby's has been freshly slicing meats in every restaurant for nearly 50 years is something we're extremely proud of, and it's something not all restaurant chains can say they do for their customers," said Russ Klein, chief marketing officer, Arby's Restaurant Group Inc. "We're committed to providing our customers with the best quality food and service possible, and it's our belief that freshly sliced meat makes a great sandwich."
New campaign elements include:
- National television, print and digital advertisements featuring former New York City Police Detective Bo Dietl on a mission to "expose the truth about fresh slicing."
- Updated, modernized logo that stays true to the iconic hat, but also communicates Arby's new messaging.
- Introduction of Turkey Roasters, a new line of turkey sandwiches freshly sliced daily in Arby's restaurants and served hot.
- New tagline – "Slicing Up Freshness."
- Complete website refresh, www.Arbys.com, highlighting the new campaign and Arby's famous slicers, and backed by the statement "People should slice meat. Robots shouldn't."
The new TV ads featuring Dietl were directed Larry Charles, who is best known for directing films such as Borat, Religulous, Bruno and The Dictator, as well as his writing work for Seinfeld. The new spots mark Charles' first endeavor into commercials and began airing Sept. 30. They will be featured during popular primetime shows, including Revolution, Ben and Kate, Animal Practice, Glee, Modern Family, X-Factor, The Voice and Revenge. In late night, the ads will air in the company of Jay Leno, Craig Ferguson, Jimmy Fallon and Jimmy Kimmel.
Product pipeline, restaurant updates
According to the company, another important element in the brand relaunch is a renewed focus on Arby's innovation pipeline. Arby's rolled out its new Turkey Roasters sandwiches in September. They're made fresh to order and are served hot.
This month, Arby's will introduce the Grand Turkey Club, made with freshly sliced roast turkey, melted Swiss cheese, pepper bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayo and served on a toasted harvest wheat bun.
Additional items in the works, according to Bloomberg, include a peppermint milkshake, a molten lava cake and miniature sandwiches.
In May, Arby's highlighted its Market Fresh line with the limited time launch of its pecan chicken salad sandwich and wraps.
Another notable change to the menu is the emergence of value items. Hala Moddelmog, president of Arby's Restaurant Group, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the brand didn't have a value menu during the great recession, an issue the company has since "fixed."
In addition to the new campaign, logo and menu items, Arby's rebranding efforts will also include new packaging and menu boards expected to be in place by Febuary 2013, according to the Bloomberg story. The company expects to spend $12 million in company-owned restaurant renovations and will start testing the design at the end of next year.
Impetus of change
Changes at Arby's have happened steadily since the chain was put up for sale by the then-Wendy's/Arby's Group in January 2011. About a month later, Arby's launched its "Good Mood Food" marketing campaign, which was eventually named one of the "worst ads in America" by Consumerist.com.
In June 2011, Arby's was sold to Atlanta-based private equity firm Roark Capital Group. In 2011, same-store sales trends began to reverse from the prior year, increasing 4.9 percent, compared to negative 5.9 percent in 2010. Moddelmog told the Journal-Constitution that the chain is on pace to continue its positive same-store sales trend this year.
In January 2012, Arby's brought Klein on board as chief marketing officer. With a 25-year track record of marketing management, Klein has been widely credited for leading Burger King's turnaround with unique campaigns such as the "Whopper Freakout."
Klein has been recognized by Advertising Age as a "Top 100 Marketer," and twice by Brand Week as "Marketer of the Year."
Also in January, Arby's named a new chief development officer, Nils Okeson.
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