It’s a Wonderful Meal, Courtesy of Whataburger

Restaurant Hopes It Has Holiday Classic in Square One’s TV Spot
DALLAS–Whataburger wants to put a lump in your throat and a glow in your heart this holiday season.
No, the fast-food restaurant is not promoting indigestion. Instead, the burger chain is counting on those reactions as the emotional responses to a 60-second holiday television commercial it hopes will become a seasonal classic.
Entitled “Tree Lot,” the TV spot shows a man pulling into a barren tree lot on Christmas Eve to find one small evergreen remaining. He leaves his Whataburger bag on the front seat of his car and gets out to look at the last tree. He hides his disappointment and says, “It looks great, I’ll take it.”
The proprietor refuses to accept money for the tree, saying it’s Christmas Eve. The two men shake hands and wish each other a happy holiday.
As the customer pulls out of the lot, the owner finds the Whataburger bag intentionally left on his chair. The driver honks his car horn as the owner waves, then sits down to eat.
The commercial is in heavy rotation during holiday television programming in the eight Southern states stretching from Florida to Arizona in which Corpus Christi, Texas-based Whataburger operates 570 restaurants. The ad is intended to run from Thanksgiving through Christmas in subsequent years.
The spot was created by Whataburger’s agency of record, Dallas-based Square One.
With the burger chain’s 50th anniversary approaching in 2000, the client “wanted a spot that really saluted the Whataburger person,” said Square One principal Bill Ferguson. “It’s just a case of ‘What would a Whataburger customer’s reaction be to someone extending generosity?'”
“We’re family owned and operated and [the ad] speaks to what our core values are,” said Whataburger chief operating officer Tim Taft, who initiated the holiday campaign. “I’d say it’s consistent with the message that we feel we’re all about.”