Phoenix Marketing International has found that the inclusion of specific pricing is a key factor of high performing quick-service restaurant advertising.

Phoenix recently tested eight television ads for national restaurant brands such as Wendy's, Subway, Burger King, KFC and Arby's. Top ranked spots included Wendy's "$0.99 value menu," Subway's "$3 flatbread" and Subway's "$5 footlong" ads, all with scores significantly higher than Phoenix's QSR advertising norms.

In addition to strong creative, what differentiates these top ads from the rest is their ability to weave in a value message with appetizing food items and a positive dining experience. If executed correctly, value messaging can work even with higher price points: KFC's "$11 bucket" spot came in a close fourth despite its relatively higher price.

In contrast, most of the ads without price points proved to be weaker performers, even if they showcased premium, appealing food items and conveyed a pleasant dining experience.

Phoenix's also uncovered demographic differences in response to these value ads: women responded better to advertising featuring healthier menu choices such as Subway's "$3 flatbread" and family items such as KFC's "$11 bucket," while men tended to favor hearty and super value choices such as Subway's "$5 footlong" or Wendy's "$0.99 value menu."

Wendy's "Where's the Beef" ad excelled with a strong nostalgic appeal among consumers over 35 who rated it highly in terms of food portrayal and dining experience. Despite this, it lacked a price point and missed the opportunity to be a top performer.

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