Industry News | October 4, 2007

Zaxby's Rolls Out New Ad Campaign Featuring Southern 'Celebrities'

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What do American Idol finalist Melinda Doolittle, four-time heavyweight champion boxer Evander Holyfield, Atlanta Braves play-by-play announcer Chip Caray, NASCAR legend Bobby Allison, and singer-songwriter Alice Peacock have in common? All are well-known in the South, and all five will be featured in commercials for Zaxby’s, the rapidly growing Southeastern fast-casual chain that specializes in chicken fingers and Buffalo wings.

The five Southern icons star in the latest installment of the chain’s award-wining “Indescribably Good” advertising campaign, which showcases real people enjoying Zaxby’s food. The commercials begin airing October 8 on local and cable channels.

“Our original campaign that brought people together with food in an interesting way really connected with consumers because it delivered the personality of our brand,” says Zach McLeroy, Zaxby’s CEO and co-founder. “Still, we were looking for a way to take it up a notch with this campaign, so we’re partnering with some great Southern celebrities who have deep connections to the area that Zaxby’s calls home in order to add a fun and fresh ingredient to the popular spots.

Aside from their friendly personalities, the chain strategically selected these stars because they mirror the company’s Southern footprint. Zaxby’s currently operates nearly 400 restaurants in 10 states — Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia. Doolittle calls Brentwood, Tennesse, home; Holyfield was born in Alabama and raised in Atlanta; Caray, grandson of famed Cubs announcer Harry Caray and son of Skip Caray, is a University of Georgia graduate and is the current play-by-play announcer on TBS for the Atlanta Braves; Allison was raised in Florida and later became one of the “Alabama Gang,” a group of NASCAR drivers who set up shop and operated out of Hueytown, Alabama.; and Peacock performs regularly from Jacksonville to Atlanta and beyond for her Southern following.

The “Indescribably Good” campaign captures unscripted reactions of people enjoying Zaxby’s delicious, freshly prepared food. A total of five new spots will air—each featuring one celebrity—starting October 8. Scenes show the celebrities eating and talking about the Zaxby’s menu staple, the Chicken Finger Plate. Additionally, the stars were asked questions about their life, their ties to the Southeast and their careers.

In keeping with the Southern theme, the spots were created by Jacksonville, Fla.-based St. John & Partners, shot in Houston and edited in Dallas.