Ground Round Orders McKay For TV Push

McKay Communications has been tapped for creative chores by Ground Round Restaurants after a review of undisclosed shops.
McKay will create a trio of television spots to reintroduce the Braintree, Mass.-based client, which operates 165 restaurants in the Northeast. The ads are slated to air in March.
Blitz Media in Natick, Mass., is handling media chores. The budget was not disclosed.
McKay is charged with updating the image of the privately held chain, which has struggled in recent years to find the right formula.
The new campaign will seek to portray Ground Round as more mature and sophisticated, eschewing “family fun” messages in favor of a “taste and variety” theme, said Frank Mainero, president of McKay’s advertising unit. In addition to branding, the commercials will feature a promotional message focusing on the restaurant chain’s new seafood menu.
The performance of those efforts will determine whether the project assignment will become an agency of record relationship, Mainero added. Client officials did not return calls.
Ground Round chose McKay based largely on the Boston agency’s “category experience,” said Mainero. The shop has created ads for the Common Market Trading Co., a marketer of imported and domestic food items, and Apropos, a restaurant at the Sheraton Boston Hotel & Towers.
Ground Round has done little advertising in recent years, spending about $100,000 in 1998, according to Competitive Media Reporting. The client has not launched a major ad push since the mid-1990s, when it worked with The Baker Agency in Dallas.
The McKay effort will mark the chain’s first notable campaign since its purchase in 1997 by investment group Boston Ventures and the installation of Thomas Russo as chairman and chief executive. Russo has been trying to turn around the company, which has closed some 40 restaurants since 1994 and lost some $23 million in fiscal 1996, the last year for which figures were available.