Restaurant Chain Picks Launch

Launch Partnership has been tapped to handle creative duties on the $6-10 million account of entertainment dining chain Dave & Buster’s.

The selection followed a review of Texas agencies. Finalists included Ackerman McQueen, Irving; Integer Group, Dallas; and McGarrah/Jessee, Austin, according to the client.

Incumbent BrannForbes in Dallas, which launched D&B’s first major advertising campaign 18 months ago, was not invited to participate.

Dallas consultant Peter Mitchell directed the agency search.

Launch principal Michael Boone said his team was selected after identifying a key weakness in D&B’s current positioning during the course of a strategic, rather than creative-based, pitch.

“Right now it’s positioned more as a ‘guy’ place,” said Boone. “We want to make it more inclusive—not just a place for special events and not just a place where guys get together.”

D&B vice president Stuart Myers agreed.

“We won’t go out and directly target the female audience, but we want to be more inviting and inclusive,” he said.

Similarly, the current “Big-time fun” tagline might be creating missed opportunities for D&B, Myers said.

“People may see us only as a destination … We have kind of a weekend or special occasion mentality among our customers,” he said. “During the week we have underutilized capacity and we want to find ways of driving that off-peak business.”

Myers said that, in addition to strategic insight, he was looking for an agency with a track record in brand positioning, preferably among young adults. He also wanted experience in marketing entertainment concepts.

Launch’s advertising for Hollywood Casinos fit the bill, he said, as did work by the shop’s parent company, Temerlin McClain, for the Paris, Las Vegas casino.

“They demonstrated strong creative in a wide range of production budgets,” said Myers. “The Paris casino is high end, while work for [gourmet takeout chain] eatZi’s is equally impactful, though clearly on a lower budget.”

Launch, as its name suggests, has specialized in introducing or revitalizing the marketing of smaller companies since setting up shop in Irving two years ago.

Boone said recent account gains, including that of D&B, will push Launch’s workforce to 20 by year’s end. The agency’s billings have grown to $30 million.