Food & Drink International - Fall 2017 - 41

Alternative Marketing

A

Advertising works. I believe in it. Especially thoughtfully strategic messages executed with an awareness of the general standards and expectations of a brand's potential customers.
But it's summer as I type this.
People may not pay as much attention to advertising when the sun sets
so late. What can you do to get your
name in their brain? (And if it's late
summer or early fall as you're reading
this, maybe think of this as a scorecard: how much of this did you do?)
First, you have to know who you're
talking to. But after that, well, there
are all kinds of options.

1. One of the Locals
How do you infiltrate awareness, say,
for example, when folks are playing
softball? (That question itself is a softball, right?) Try a sponsorship - simple enough. What's in the outfield, a
banner on the fence? Let's buy one of
those, too, and a program ad. Do you
understand your brand voice enough
to say something beyond just a logo?
What about some kind of reference to your restaurant that makes
sense in a softball setting - not a pun,
not a forced association, but something relevant? Do you serve something that would be a good reward?
Can you seat a whole team? Give it
some thought and if you can't think
of any relevant connection between
your restaurant and the game, well,
a plain logo is probably better than a
hacky pun.

called Mean Cup. "What's that?" ask
people when they see the cartoon of
an angry mug on the front. I tell them.
Same thing with my T-shirt from The
Red Bar in Florida.
Maybe I don't frequent the hottest
spots, but I don't ever see people
wearing the naughty, double-entre
T-shirts vended by Joe's Crab Shack
that say "I'd hit that" with a picture of
a crab or some venereal disease joke.
Maybe it's just the crowd I don't run
with. But a little subtlety and a cool
design will probably market your 24hour restaurant better than "__[YOUR
RESTAURANT NAME]___ does it all
night!" It's your call. You know your
customers better than I do. I hope.

3. The Unexpected Merch
KFC is marketing a range of weird
merchandise from necklaces that say,

"finger lickin' good" in gold-plated
script, to socks and a pillowcase with
a photo of a romantic, drowsy Colonel. Last year Taco Bell sold out of
pretty rings that said, "taco bell" and
"live mas." A few years ago, Applebee's sold inflatable life-size dolls to
stick behind your computer so you
could slip out to get their lunch special, calling them "Lunch Decoys."
What's with all the weirdness?
Well, it really works with a certain
segment, which overlaps nicely with
the segment that spends a lot of money in fast food and entry-level casual
dine restaurants like those.
Advice: the key to being enticingly odd and attractively weird is to lay
off the actual salesmanship. Nobody
wants to feel the cold hand of commerce resting on their shoulder while
they're being silly. Let your merch
be weird, and it piques a millennial's
(and oddballs of any generation's)
interest. Let it be a sales-wolf in humorously self-aware sheep's clothing,

Although consumers may not pay much attention to advertising during the summer months, brands should still focus on <<
thoughtful strategic messaging to get their name in potential cusotmers' brains.

2. The Usual Merch

Photo by Young & Laramore

Are you a dull multi-national corporation? Maybe people won't clamor
to do your advertising for you. But if
you're an interesting restaurant with
an attitude - any attitude at all - I
wouldn't be surprised if people wore
your name around. I have a T-shirt
from a coffee shop in Lancaster, Pa.,
food & drink international * fall 2017 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com

41


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Food & Drink International - Fall 2017

Contents
Food & Drink International - Fall 2017 - Cover1
Food & Drink International - Fall 2017 - Cover2
Food & Drink International - Fall 2017 - 1
Food & Drink International - Fall 2017 - Contents
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Food & Drink International - Fall 2017 - Cover3
Food & Drink International - Fall 2017 - Cover4
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/knighthouse/fd_vol19_issue2
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/knighthouse/fd_vol19_issue2b
http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/knighthouse/fd_vol19_issue2a
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/businessmedia/fd_2010summer
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http://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/businessmedia/fd_2010spring
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