Square One Picks Up Pace for Dave & Buster’s

DALLAS Square One uses rapid pacing and a gigantic eye to promote Dave & Buster’s food and fun in its first advertising for the client breaking today.

The Dallas shop’s 30-second spot will play in movie theaters in nine U.S. cities, including Philadelphia, San Diego and Atlanta, through April.

In it, a giant eye slowly looks right and then left before images of patrons enjoying the restaurant and entertainment complex begin appearing inside the eyeball. Initially, a couple is seen dining, others are at a bar, and a woman is shown playing basketball. Then the speed of the images appearing quickens, so patrons playing ski ball and video games begin flashing by quickly. “Discover senses you never knew existed” is shown as a title over the scenes until the client’s logo and tag appears in the eye.

“We are doing this as a bit of an experiment to understand the impact of theater,” said agency creative director Kevin Sutton. “We chose it for a couple reasons, and one is we can highlight our creative and build it just for the theater, which hits our target market perfectly because people are predisposed to go out.” He added that the client hopes people will visit Dave & Buster’s after the movie.

The concept also enabled the agency to use existing footage, which the client mandated to save both time and money. “The economy is not so good and entertainment is taking a pretty good blow,” said agency account director Bruce McElroy. “They needed to have something that is good and gets out as fast as possible because their fourth quarter [advertising efforts] were very low.”

The agency, whose Southwest Media division handled the Dallas client’s media business, won creative chores when Dave & Buster’s consolidated the account last December. Launch Partnership of Irving, Texas, formerly a subsidiary of Interpublic Group’s Temerlin McClain, was the incumbent on the business.

The spot introduces the new tagline, “Serious food. Outrageous fun,” which seeks to show both the dining and gaming side of the client. In the past, Dave & Buster’s used a handful of taglines that Square One felt only addressed one side of the business.

Campaign spending is undisclosed. The client spent $5 million on media last year, according to CMR.