For years, Dairy Queen has been synonymous with Blizzards and other ice cream treats. This summer, however, it ventured from the norm with a new advertising campaign that increased awareness of food products while connecting emotionally with customers.

“Through research, we found that consumers see Dairy Queen as a bit of an underdog in the corporate fast-food world, and as genuine fans of our brand, they want us to succeed,” says Barry Westrum, executive vice president of marketing at American Dairy Queen Corp.

A focus of the campaign—which includes television, radio, print, and social media spots—is the new tagline, “Fan food. Not fast food.”

“One of the objectives is to remind the consumers of our food menu items, which offer breakthrough value in the quick-service restaurant industry,” Westrum says, pointing to offers like the $5 Buck Lunch special, which includes a choice of three entrées along with fries, a drink, and a sundae for $5.

The brand also hopes to bring its customers, who visit an average of once a month, into the stores more often. “If we can get people to visit us twice a month, then our business will increase dramatically,” he says.

Dennis Lombardi, executive vice president of foodservice strategies for restaurant consulting firm WD Partners, says the new campaign is a strategic decision for Dairy Queen and will help customers identify with the brand.

“New customers who were previously not visiting even once a month will likely come to Dairy Queen for meals, because they were not aware that the brand served food,” he says. “Creating more awareness of the food products is a smart move.”

Burgers, Desserts, Marketing & Promotions, Menu Innovations, Story, Dairy Queen