Cousins Subs

Celebrity Spokespeople: Not Just for the Mega Chains

Most consumers can recall a celebrity-driven fast food marketing campaign, whether it’s Michael Jordan and Larry Bird shooting hoops for McDonald’s or Michael Phelps bringing gold to Subway.

But celebrity spokespeople extend beyond the mega-famous endorsing for the mega-chains.

Take Penn Station East Coast Subs, for example. The Cincinnati-based brand has used regional celebrities such as Indianapolis Colts center Jeff Saturday and Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce to support various campaigns.

Is Your Brand Star Struck?

Zaxby’s has Doris Roberts, Terry Bradshaw, and Ryan Stiles. Subway has Apolo Anton Ohno, Michael Phelps, and Blake Griffin. Now Starbucks and Lady Gaga are teaming up. The question remains, however, whether star power in a quick serve’s marketing efforts can add up to big sales.

To fully harness the powerful influence of a celebrity, experts say, quick-serve operators must clearly define the role of that celebrity, not just go for the instant name recognition.

Say This, Not That

As Berry Chill founder and CEO Michael Farah implemented his plans to open the first of his three Chicago-area locations, he took a bizarre step for a business yet to open: He set up a Facebook page before ever selling its first treat.

“I wanted to build buzz on the brand,” he says. “I wanted to target a younger audience, and Facebook was an easy way to find our customer base.” His friends initially comprised the majority of his fans, but thanks to strong word-of-mouth, the Berry Chill page had 500 fans before the grand opening. 

Hot Spot

It’s 9 p.m. on a Friday in Hillsborough, North Carolina, and the Cedar Ridge Red Wolves just won their men’s basketball game. Naturally, just as they do with every other home game, most in attendance migrate down the road toward the town’s Bojangles’.

Tommy Haddock, owner of the store, says the crowd is business as usual, as the Bojangles’ is also overrun on Friday mornings before school, when the local high school students stop by to grab breakfast before first period.