I was sitting on the couch having a lazy Sunday this past weekend when it seemed every other commercial was about fast food. When I wasn’t mesmerized by the delicious food on the screen, I was picking up a theme in all these fast food commercials: people of importance as spokespeople for the company brand. In an age where it’s hard to build loyalty and trust in fast food restaurants because of the negative connotations and the immense variety of deals and food options, strong fast food brands need to show consumers that they are more like their customers as they seem. Brands need to put the consumers first and try to build a relationship with them.
Domino’s: Over the past couple of months, I’ve noticed a lot of change in the Domino’s marketing campaigns. While, yes, the commercials focus on the pizzas and other goodies Domino’s makes, another equally important focus is the man in the commercials – new Domino’s CEO J. Patrick Doyle. I think including Doyle in the commercials is not only enlightening because it shows he’s a man much like his consumers, I think it is also very smart. His presence shows consumers he is a working man much like the rest of them, and is shows he is trying to put a face to the Domino’s company.
Wendy’s: Back home, I am a Frosty fiend. Whenever I pass a Wendy’s, there is a strong possibility that the next minute I’ll be in the drive-thru waiting to get myself a snack. The red-headed girl on the cups, bags and signs never caught my attention until I grew older. After the realization that Wendy was a real person I always asked “Who is the real Wendy?” Finally, it has been answered. Recent commercials have featured the red-headed Wendy herself, although she’s slightly older than the little girl in the logo. Much like Domino’s, I think this is a great strategy because the consumers are getting to know the people behind the scenes of the company. Plus, what better way to brand the company than with Wendy herself?
Papa John’s: Continuing with this theme, one cannot help it but to think of Papa John’s. For as long as I can remember, the Papa John’s commercials have featured Papa John’s spokesperson and founder, John Schnatter, more commonly known as Papa John. Much like the previous two examples, John is featured in nearly every commercial allowing him to talk directly to his consumers. What I like about this branding strategy is that John has been the face of the brand since its founding in 1984. I have learned to trust John because of the strong presence he has built in the company.
TIP: In every class I’ve taken and every brand I’ve examined there has always been a common theme for a company – get to know your customers. Of course I believe this and think this is an extremely important step in creating a trustworthy brand. However, I think many companies are failing to do the opposite of that – let your customers get to know you. The reason I think these three fast food companies have been so successful among the seemingly never-ending list of fast food restaurants is because they have gone further than getting to know their customers. Letting the customers get to know the “big boys” of the company builds trust in consumers because if the CEO is backing of the products of the company, the consumers are more willing to try it out for themselves.