New CiCi's Pizza ads promote great service, poke fun at bad service

June 7, 2004

NEW YORK—Coppell, Texas-based CiCi's Pizza wants pizza lovers to know its service is as good as its food, and it's spending $14 million on the effort.

According to a report in AdWeek, CiCi's new TV ad campaign includes five TV spots—three 15-seconds long and three 30-seconds long—that mix black-and-white images to represent bad fast-food service and color images to represent great service at CiCi's.

In one spot, a worker at a burger store motions customers waiting in line toward him, and then tells them he's on break. In another, a customer drops a soda and a worker calls for a mop-up adding, "Some old guy just spilled his drink everywhere." In another spot, an order taker asks a customer to give him an extra 50 cents to pay for the error he made in ringing up the order.

"The unvarnished truth of what really goes down in fast food is funny enough," said Steve Skibba, senior vice president and associate creative director at Deutsch/LA in Marina del Rey, Calif. The point of the campaign, he added, is to show that "CiCi's goes to extraordinary lengths to see that you have an enjoyable experience."

Tom Koenigsberg, chief marketing officer at 485-unit CiCi's (whose sales grew 13.5 percent to $379 million last year, according to research firm Technomic) said the spots help people contextualize the growing chain, which has national aspirations.

"This is the first campaign that really starts to position this business as a brand," Koenigsberg said.

Until last year, CiCi's handled all its advertising in-house, but new ownership believed it was time for a change, and Deutsch won its business this year. The new ads' look, Koenigsberg said, reflects a broader perspective on CiCi's.

"The old campaign simply stressed all-you-can-eat," said Koenigsberg. "It was standard retail bite-and-smile. Not a bad thing, but it didn't present the whole product. We needed to stay with the rational and add in the emotional benefits."

Topics: CiCi's Pizza , Marketing

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