EH+Y Pits Sizzler Against Rivals

Family Steakhouse Chain Continues to Tout Its Revamped Menu
LOS ANGELES–Sizzler takes on rival chains Outback Steakhouse and Stuart Anderson’s Black Angus in new TV spots promoting its USDA Choice Porterhouse steaks.
Evans, Hardy + Young, Santa Barbara, Calif., created the ads, two of which broke late last month in Los Angeles and San Francisco. A total of five spots may roll out in markets around the country.
“The message we’re trying to convey is that Sizzler offers a great quality steak at a better value,” said EH+Y president Jim Evans.
The ads also claim that Sizzler’s Porterhouse steak is larger than the offerings at many higher-priced competitors.
In one spot, a spokesman stands in front of a pair of easels, each of which is holding a sign. One reads “Sizzler”; the other “Outback Steakhouse.” Holding a boomerang in his hand, the man asks the viewer, “Which steakhouse serves USDA Choice steak starting at just $8.99?” He then turns around and chucks the boomerang at the Outback sign, which falls down. “Sorry, mate,” he says. A sizzling steak shot is shown, with the voiceover, “More Choice steak for less money at Sizzler.”
A second ad uses the same setup and spokesman, but this time he is armed with a dart gun to shoot down a Stuart Anderson sign.
Sizzler, based in Los Angeles, introduced the USDA Choice steaks to its menu last year, and the family steakhouse chain has continued to upgrade the quality of its offerings, Evans said. “Sizzler wanted us to make a dramatic, yet amusing statement without pushing the limit when it came to their competitors,” he said.
The agency won the account about two years ago, and has focused on menu upgrades since then. Its campaign last fall promoting the chain’s expanded barbecue menu featured spoof TV news updates about a moist towelette shortage.
Sizzler International has rebounded since it emerged from bankruptcy in 1997. The company reported 1998 sales of $242 million, nearly 20 percent more than the previous year. The chain owns or franchises about 350 Sizzler restaurants worldwide. It also operates 96 KFC restaurants.