Carvel Returns to a Happier Time

BOSTON Carvel serves up nostalgia in its latest campaign. But this year, the client seeks to cut costs and increase the number of its locations by using direct response, a company executive said.

Carvel decided to spend its estimated $2 million media budget solely in DRTV because of “substantial cost savings in conjunction with aggressively expanding the Carvel brand through franchising,” said Gary Bales, vice president of marketing at the Atlanta-based ice-cream chain.

A 30-second spot from Atlanta’s Fletcher Martin Ewing opens with footage of the gravelly voiced Tom Carvel from a 1970s TV spot. It cuts to a father hosting his young son’s birthday party. The agency has stressed nostalgia for several years. But now the spot ends with a 1-800 number where viewers can get information about franchise sales.

Carvel, a largely eastern U.S. player, has about 400 stores and sales of $120 million in 2002, the last year for which figures were available. In comparison, ice-cream giant Dairy Queen garnered $2.5 billion in sales at almost 5,000 stores, according to Chicago consultancy Technomics.

Using DRTV nearly doubles Carvel’s rating points and frequency, said Beth Vendice, svp, account director at Marlborough, Mass.-based Advanced Results Marketing, which handled Carvel’s media buy.