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Restaurant Ads Now Focus on Distinctive Brand Characteristics

There’s something quite conspicuous in how restaurant ads wage war against each other in their claim for a bigger market share these days.

While in the past, their ads are normally focused on convenience, value, speed and service, the advertisements these days are noticeably more and more focused on the culinary distinctiveness of restaurant chains, the characteristic of their menus, and yes, I bet you noticed, too – their chefs.

Burger King, for instance, has swung away from their usual commercials with The King and focused on culinary collaboration, giving focus on ingredients. In this video, the chain promoted their new California Whopper hamburger and highlighted its freshness and quality. We can also take note how it gave the spotlight to the Chef’s Choice burger in one of its recent commercials, where the “chef” word association was evident.

KFC’s 2011 commercial is a far cry from its other ads which used to focus on price and other attributes. The new advertisement re-launched the KFC grilled chicken and talked about the chain’s pride and how its apron-clad cooks took up the challenge of making use of superior quality ingredients for its food items. It showed its cooks doing the works—seasoning, marinating and grilling the chicken, but did not mention any price. In a series of in-house videos, KFC’s cooks will also be featured demonstrating how to best prepare their top-secret original classic fried chicken recipe.

If Domino’s previous ads focus on speedy delivery, this year’s commercial is all about the craftsmanship and ingredients of Domino’s pizzas, with just a subtle hint of fast delivery. They have replaced value with artisan as their marketing buzzword, and enlisted Top Chef Contender Fabio Viviani to promote their Artisan Pizzas.

Another chain that now concentrates its commercials on its cooking characteristics is Taco Bell, as it ran its latest ad for the 99-cent Chicken Flatbread. The ad now focuses on its chef’s stylish mode of preparing the flatbread by hand—cutting the chicken, grating the cheese and grilling the bread slices in open flame.

Even Romano’s Macaroni Grill caught up with the prevailing trend and saw the need to focus its ads on its unique characteristics rather than the price. It emphasized the scrumptiousness and palatability of its dishes, which were shown in close-up, and gave its audience a glimpse of its elegantly designed fine-dining rooms.

And finally, we have Red Lobster which is now running a “Sea Food Differently” campaign, featuring the chain’s employees, some of whom are in their smart-looking apron, who talked about their top-quality ingredients. The ad presented one of the brand’s fishermen, who talked about how it is to fish in Alaska, and ended with a striking tagline “if I couldn’t serve it on my table at home, I wouldn’t bring it in.”