Industry News | November 11, 2010

Jack + Dentist Appointment = Free Tacos

image used with permission.

On Nov. 10, Jack took a trip to the dentist. He walked out of the office goofy on laughing gas and impulsively promised free tacos to passersby

Jack in the Box will make good on Jack's promise on Nov. 16 by offering two free tacos to every customer after 2 p.m.

Secret Weapon Marketing, the creative team behind marketing at Jack in the Box for the past 15 years, thinks of the free food as a way to honor loyal guests and show they are appreciated. And if the "Dentist" ad sounds a little similar to a certain YouTube video, Joanne O'Brien, group account director at Secret Weapon, promises any likeness is a complete coincidence.

"It's funny you bring up the YouTube video, because that never even came up," O'Brien says.

In the viral video "David After Dentist," a young boy famously tries to regain his surroundings in the backseat of a car after dental surgery. "Is this real life?" he asks, dazed.

O'Brien says the "Dentist" advertisement was one of many that Secret Weapon came up with when approached by Jack in the Box. Creative director Dick Sittig helped the creative team whittle the ideas down to three, which were then presented to the client.

"This is called managing client expectations, and it is the cornerstone of our client relationships," Sittig says.

The ad features Jack pulling silly faces as he escapes the dentist's chair.

"People love to see Jack with different faces," O'Brien says. "When his eyes go funny or his mouth goes funny, we always get a great response to that."

"Our research tells us that 79 percent of our target will find Jack's googly eyes somewhat or very amusing," Sittig jokes.

Ultimately, the purpose of the comedic ad and the free tacos is to reward customers. Jack's "Be a Rich Fan" campaign on Facebook sought to do just that: up until Oct. 25, for every person who "liked" Jack's Facebook page, he made a nickel donation into a money jar on the fan page. The grand prize amount of $11,533.35 will be rewarded to one fan.

"All this social media and all these interactive opportunities, it's really just increased our ability to interact with our loyal fan base," O'Brien says. "We look at Facebook and Twitter and MySpace as ways to have a conversation rather than just pushing out a message to consumers."

Terri Graham, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Jack in the Box, says consumer loyalty is not easy to come by in the QSR industry.

O'Brien says the strong personality attaches fans to the restaurant. "Any research we ever do, people always talk about Jack and say, 'He's got my back, he's watching out for me.' And, you know, sometimes that means giving people a free taco."

By Sonya Chudgar

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