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16 August 8, 2005

MARKETING

NATION'S RESTAURANT NEWS

There's music in the air—a t least at Starbucks and Cracker Barrel

F or many years the rap against McDonald's was that instead of being in the business of

selling hamburgers, it was in the business of selling toys. Critics said the chain, which since its early days had focused on food, had strayed into the toy business because it oared more about the premiums it put into Happy Meals than it did about putting new items on the menu. That's changed, obviously. McDonald's has been introducing menu items at such a paoe that it's not far-fetched to think that it had gone to confession and been ordered by an unusually harsh priest to become zealous in bringing out new salads and sandwiches as penance for past sins. A brand that once was tarnished by mis- steps seems to have regained its footing, set- ting an example for others to follow: Don't fool with what made the brand great. Recent developments at Starbucks and Craoker Barrel Old Country Store made me wonder whether the message was being ignored. Both chains seem to be drifting deeper into the music business, Starbucks and XM Satellite Radio have expanded their partnership by launching a series of exclusive compilation

CDs. That follows last year's launch of a 24-hour digital music channel by Starbucks' Hear Music and XM. Starbucks also has a Hear Music Coffeehouse in Santa Monica, Calif., offering cus- tomers songs from more than 15,000 CDs as well as the opportunity to burn their ov^n mixes. Let's not forget that Starbucks will bring out "Bob Dylan: Live at the Gaslight 1962," which includes the earliest recordings of his classics. The first of the new CD compilations fea- tures songs from Tracy Chapman, Jewel and Jason Mraz, artists that Starbuoks believes will appeal to its customers.

Cracker Barrei is offering Charlie Daniels to its country-lovin' customers. It has signed an exclu- sive deal with him to produce a CD of patriotic music and some of the best-known songs from the legendary Charlie Daniels Band. That follows an exclusive arrangement with Alison Krauss and Union Station to produoe "Home on the Highways." More than 125,000 copies were sold in fewer than eight weeks.

Craoker Barrel has a large selection of exolusive CDs in the retail portions of its stores, inoluding music by Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and performers from The Grand Ole Opry, with whom the chain signed

a deal for a "Live Classios" CD. There's no doubt that Starbucks and Cracker Barrel are intent on using music to strengthen their brands to get people inside to buy what made the brands strong, respectively, in the first place: coffee and home-cooked meals. That can work, which makes their situations different from McDonald's. The music-based marketing for Starbucks and Cracker Barrel are add-ons, not the over- whelming foous of their marketing programs. Starbucks' strength still is its image as a cutting-edge purveyor of coffee, and now it has an opportunity to broaden its customer base with outting-edge music pro- grams. Anyone coming in to buy a CD also might buy a latte. It's doubtful that the chain will lose loyal customers because it's expanding its musical offerings. Cracker Barrel's appeai still is its ubiquity on interstate highways, with convenient locations for hungry travelers. They enter the store for chicken 'n' dumplings, not Alison Krauss. But diners pleased with the music selection might stop again on the way baok from wherever they were headed. There's no indioation that Starbucks and Craoker Barrel are fooling with what made them suocessfuL It does seem that they've hit the right note in offering con- sumers another reason to waltz into the store.

Sing for your supper

It's an ad whose topic was ripped from the headlines. In the days before Loilapalooza hit Chicago, the newspapers were filled with advance stories about the acts, and local TV stations previewed the songfest. Piece Brewery & Pizzeria piggybacked on all the publicity to run a timely ad promoting its karaoke night, one in a continuing series of such ads appearing in Chicago newspapers.

"AdWatch" submissions should be either proofs, prints or stills of a new print, direct-mai[ or television advertisement for a restauranl or restaurant chain, with accompanying information on the responsible agency name, if any, and the media time and placement schedule. Submissions should be sent to; Gregg Cebrzynski, Marketing Editor, Nation's Restaurant News, 444 N, Michigan Ave,, Suite 1070, Chicago, IL 60611.

NEWS DIGESTS

Subway drops Goodby, shifts all creative duties t o MMB

MiLFORD, cor^N, — Subway has severed ties with ad agency Goodby, Silverstein & Partners of San Francisco and will use McCarthy Mambro Bertino of Boston exclusively for creative duties. Goodby, which had shared duties with MMB for about a year, creat- ed the campaign for the chain's new Fresh Toasted Subs, but it was MMB that developed recent TV spots with ad spokesman Jared Fogle, Media spending is estimated at more than $300 million. The consoli- dation of ad duties came a week after Chris Carroll announced his resig- nation as senior vice president and director of marketing for the Subway Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust, The resignation takes effect Oot, 1.

Coq Roq rocks t o support Bui^er King Cbicken Fries rollout

MIAMI — Burger King Corp. is supporting the nationwide rollout of its Chicken Fries with TV spots and a special website featuring Coq Roq, a pretend head-banging band designed to appeal to 18- to 34-year-old males. The band praises the fries in suoh songs as "Cross the Road" and "Nice Box," The website allows users to play the songs and download cellphone ring tones. The campaign, created by Crispin, Porter & Bogusky of Miami, con- tinues BK's strategy of oombining traditional and nontraditional media to sell products.

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