Golden Corral, the nation’s #1 buffet-grill chain, in partnership with The VIA Agency, announces the launch of a new and different integrated advertising campaign, “The Only One for Everyone.” The campaign launches across all of the brand’s national and local media platforms on April 29 in support of the restaurant’s new dinner promotion, Endless Ribs. With a new messaging strategy, the company will aggressively reallocate its ad investment to expand its digital reach; total ad spend including digital through the end of the year is estimated at $25 million.
Focus on People, Not Pot Roast
The new campaign marks a significant change in focus, reinforcing Golden Corral as the best choice for people with common bonds but different tastes. Spots will feature families, sports teams and colleagues, all with different backgrounds, tastes and dining preferences, celebrating food and fellowship in the one place where they can all find a meal they enjoy at a price they can afford. In each spot, the inner dialogue of a parent, a coach, a co-worker or a child will be featured so you can “hear” their thoughts. The focus is on humanity — the people — instead of the pot roast.
“We are taking a dramatically new approach. Our research indicated a unique aspect of dining at Golden Corral, that is brought to life in our new campaign with the tagline, The Only One for Everyone,” said Tim Schroder, SVP of marketing for Golden Corral Corporation. “When groups gather for a meal at our restaurants with enough choices on the menu to make everyone happy, magic moments at the table ensue.” Schroder, who joined Golden Corral six months ago, oversees marketing, food and beverage innovation, and procurement for the brand’s nearly 500 locations across the country.
“We set out to develop a creative platform that defines the Golden Corral experience while going beyond food-focused transactions to make people smile,” said Greg Smith, chief creative officer at The VIA Agency. “The TV spots, digital executions, and in-store merchandising work together to highlight Golden Corral as a place where cravings and community come together in perfect harmony.”
Tell us about your role in the creation of this work.
Strategic, analytic and creative oversight, including production.
Give us an overview of the campaign. What is it about?
When it comes to choosing a restaurant, we have too many choices. And if you’re with a group of people ¾ like your friends, a large family or your kid’s sports team ¾ it’s even harder. But luckily, Golden Corral’s buffet offers something for everyone. They’re truly the only one for everyone.
Tell us about the details in the creative brief. What did it ask?
The brief was way deeper than just creative. We had to find Golden Corral’s rightful place in a crowded market and further home in on our target. Let’s face it, in the restaurant business, you don’t just compete against restaurants in your category (fast food, family dining, casual dining, etc.); you’re competing against all restaurants. You need to know precisely who your audience is.
Which insight led to the creation of this piece of work?
For those with common bonds (church groups, family, military, sports teams, etc.) Golden Corral is the one place where everyone can come together and eat as they please.
Can you share with us any alternative ideas (if any) for this campaign? Why was this idea chosen?
It was an evolution of the previous campaign, Your Choice Rules. Golden Corral is all about choice, but we realized the real value wasn’t centered around an individual’s choice; it was centered around the choices of individuals dining in groups. We needed to focus on groups of people.
What was the greatest challenge that you and your team faced during development?
Well, to be frank, Golden Corral had just hired a new CMO. That’s always a challenging position for an agency. We were just grateful that Tim gave us the opportunity to share our insights. It wasn’t long before we were finishing each other’s sentences. Is that weird? Well, it’s true. We’re very much on the same page, and that’s where the magic really happens.
What did you enjoy most about seeing this campaign through? Did you learn anything new from the experience?
It’s a new day at Golden Corral. We’ve been with the brand for over five years. We have an incredible relationship with their leadership, including many of the franchisees. The most enjoyable part of the process is the open dialogue we share with them and the trust they have in us. They work their asses off to serve others ¾ and far beyond just serving food. That inspires us to do right by them. We also know we’re a valuable member of their organization, and that can make all the difference for an agency.
Where do you see this campaign going in the future?
We see Golden Corral increasingly becoming more top of mind when it’s time to choose a place everyone will be happy with. Plus the food is incredible. You’ll soon see Golden Corral being the best choice for takeout and catering. They’re extremely well positioned for handling the to-go trend.