Italia/Gal Cooks Up Shoney’s Spots

Quality Italian, Barbecue Dishes Are “No Accident,’ Says Pitchman
LOS ANGELES-A pitchman narrowly avoids dismemberment while talking up the quality ingredients used at Shoney’s Restaurants in a pair of new TV spots from Italia/Gal Advertising here.
The ads for the Nashville, Tenn.-based chain broke in 50-60 Southeast markets in April and are airing in conjunction with two quarterly Shoney’s promotions: an Italian festival that began April 7 and a Southwestern grill campaign that begins June 21.
“Shoney’s has made a number of improvements in the quality of its food recently, and these spots are intended to get people to understand how good it has gotten,” said Italia/Gal president and chief executive officer Ken Gal, whose agency won the $26 million account in 1997.
In one spot, a pitchman in the Shoney’s “test kitchen” dodges cooks wielding cleavers and meat tenderizers as he explains how fresh ingredients make the chain’s Italian offerings so good.
In a second spot, set in a forest, the man nimbly snatches a chunk of wood off a chopping block to explain that Tennessee hickory is what sets Shoney’s barbecue dishes apart. Near the end of each spot, he says, “Shoney’s. Where quality food is no accident.” Both conclude with the primary tagline: “Shoney’s. It’s your neighborhood family restaurant.”
Shoney’s senior vice president of marketing Kent Smith said Italia/Gal was asked to introduce the Italian and barbecue offerings and highlight the ingredients that go into both. “I’ve always thought that if you give [consumers] the pieces and let them make their own conclusion, it’s much stronger,” he said.
The creative team included creative group head Joe Bui, copywriters Rod Goodman and Sam Spear, producer Tracey Davis and art director Armand Kerechuk. The group interviewed the people who construct the recipes and procure the ingredients.
“The pride and commitment they expressed, as well as Shoney’s overall management commitment to improving the quality of the food, [are] what drove us in this direction,” Gal said. ƒ