BIG Adds Shakey’s Franchisees to Corporate Work

After handling a corporate project for Shakey’s over the last three months, Big Imagination Group is now working for the restaurant’s franchisees, too.

The 10-person Culver City, Calif., shop landed the dealer-funded $2 million creative and media account following a review that included California shops Mosaic Advertising in Sherman Oaks and Kalis & Savage in Pacific Palisades. A fourth finalist, Colby & Partners in Santa Monica, Calif., withdrew from contention. Eight-year incumbent G/F/D/M in Los Angeles (formerly Asher/Gal & Partners) did not defend.

The 47-year-old casual-dining chain is looking to reinvigorate its brand. It installed a new management team earlier this year, created snack-size menu items and is redesigning its units. It has 73 restaurants, primarily in Southern California and the upper Midwest.

The win did not come without “some hoop-jumping,” said BIG chief imagination officer (CEO) Colette Brooks. After all other shops were eliminated, BIG was asked to show how it would reinvigorate Shakey’s value meals.

“The project was intended to demonstrate to us that they had the ability to quickly grasp our business, our product and our customers and turn that into something that will move the dial and have an effect on sales,” said Shakey’s president Sean Flynn.

BIG has been handling branding and ID work for Shakey’s, including introducing menu items to franchisees. “We really got to know the new management team,” Brooks said. “They had exciting ideas, and we wanted to be part of the team.”

While a 2002 marketing plan has not yet been developed, Flynn said Shakey’s will continue its “Food, fun, family” positioning. Work, likely due in the first quarter, will include English- and Spanish-language radio ads and possibly some TV, Brooks said. It has not been decided if the “Come for the food. Stay for the fun” tagline will remain.

BIG, founded in 1987, has billings of $10 million.