Who’d have thought that critically injuring a beloved icon of the restaurant industry would be an effective way to promote a company? That would be the creative team for Jack in the Box restaurants, who this week picked up a prestigious gold Effie Award for the idea. The Effie Awards annually honor the most significant achievements in marketing communications and is considered by advertisers and agencies globally as the preeminent award in the industry.

Jack in the Box also picked up a bronze Effie at the 42nd Annual Effie Gala, held June 8 in New York City. That award was for a campaign featuring a stable of mini cowboys promoting the chain’s Mini Sirloin Burgers. But it was the creative that delivered a gold Effie to Jack in the Box that had the advertising world abuzz in New York. That award validated the risks taken during the company’s brand campaign that launched on Super Bowl Sunday in 2009.

In summary, the in-house marketing team at Jack in the Box, along with their creative, media, and online agencies (Secret Weapon Marketing, Horizon Media, JAC Communications, and Apollo Interactive), built a campaign around that Super Bowl ad in which the chain’s popular spokesperson, Jack, was hit by a bus. The collision put Jack in a coma … and set off a social-media firestorm that sent millions of well-wishers to an interactive microsite (HangInThereJack.com) and had bloggers and message boards buzzing with chatter about the campaign, which effectively promoted the availability of the full Jack in the Box menu all day, every day.

“The accident triggered a tremendous outpouring of support that re-engaged our guests with the Jack in the Box brand,” says Terri Graham, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Jack in the Box Inc. “It was a very successful campaign for us, and it’s gratifying for it to be recognized with a gold Effie award.”

Since commencing its “Jack’s Back” campaign in 1995, Jack in the Box has racked up 10 Effies, including 5 gold awards, for meeting and exceeding business and sales objectives.

Jack in the Box received Effie awards in the sustained success category in 2003, 2005, and 2006, and was awarded Effies in 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, and 2008 in the fast food category.

Click here to hear more from Graham on Jack in the Box’s Jack strategy.

News, Jack in the Box