National retail messaging at the local level.

How we set up franchisees to sell, one store at a time.

What we did

Account Management
Campaign Concept
Creative Direction
Art Direction and Design
Copywriting
Photo/Film Direction
Integrated Media Planning and Buying
Integrated Media Strategy
Performance Reporting

Insights

Like most quick service restaurants, A&W produces a number of seasonal events throughout the year—a promotional mix of new menu items, limited time offers and longtime menu favorites. What is different, however, is how we have approached and executed these sales events over the years, building strong and successful retail campaigns at the local level.

STRATEGY

Every A&W restaurant and franchisee is different, which is what makes A&W so unique, personal and deeply entrenched in local communities across the country. As a franchisee-owned company, nearly every marketing effort is done at the local store level, even as a national brand. This presents a special set of considerations and challenges.

How do you create promotional communications that can sell in nearly any environment, even without the support of big, national media? It’s about knowing the intricacies of the business and challenges that hard-working franchisees face. So we approach each sales event with the individual restaurant in mind, thinking across a wide range of placements and media that will set up each store to sell with both an intriguing product story and strong retail messaging.

SOLUTION

Across point-of-purchase, TV, radio and digital, we build a unique story around each sales event—whether it’s a decades-old signature item such as Root Beer Floats or a limited-time burger innovation. Cookie-cutter promotions won’t cut it. It’s about maintaining the A&W brand while developing a distinct personality around each product. This takes the form of communications grounded in the brand ideals of authenticity and nostalgia, using techniques from the past such as hand painted signage and making them feel new and exciting. It all adds up to campaigns that are novel and energetic, keeping the brand fresh and memorable as we introduce new promotions.

A&W continues to innovate its product line, even as longtime menu favorites remain staples for the brand. For us, it means continually innovating how we lift up each and every product to bring excitement around hundreds of franchises across the country.

RESULTS

Our efforts have contributed to a boom for A&W franchises, helping earn double-digit same-store growth across more than 700 locations in the US over the past few years.

PERSPECTIVES

Mike Dominick, Media Director

“From a media perspective, what’s interesting is that A&W has over 600 restaurants nationwide, but we’re driving foot traffic into retailers using digital media. The way we’re able to do that is by using radius targeting and honed-in targeting tactics with digital. We don’t have the dollars to do big national buys, but we do have the ability to leverage that landscape. It also allows us to drive a specific action in-store, because a lot of the timing of our media is against whatever promotion we’re up against, so we’re driving that action that day.

Digital media and online attribution is really easy to measure – you see the ad, you click the ad, you buy something online. What we’re doing is pushing out a branding message about a restaurant that has low awareness, telling people to find their nearest location, but also knowing that they’re visiting an actual A&W store after seeing your ad. So we’re taking online advertising to offline attribution, which is massive.”

PERSPECTIVES

Randy Steward, Art Director

“We have a really interesting dynamic on the A&W team. We have so many skillsets all contributing to each and every sales event, from the writers helping to shape the tone and inform a storyline for the product, to designers with varied strengths in layout, typography, illustration and production all collaborating to pull together what feels like a million little pieces for each campaign. Everyone is essential to getting a specific look and feel to carry through at a high level.

We try and use techniques that could have been used in the past like painted letters and replicating vintage printing qualities, reflecting the brand’s classic aesthetic. It’s always a highly involved process that allows us to explore the many different needs of people from so many different touchpoints, whether it’s driving by the restaurant, the drive-thru, in-store POP, digital campaigns or just the random fun stuff that we explore to build buzz around a product. It’s about as complex as it gets, but with the talent we’ve assembled for this team and our incredible relationship with the client, it comes together pretty seamlessly most of the time.”