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Culver's Restaurants Crashes the Oscars

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Regional burger chain Culver's Restaurants is prepping its first national TV ad to air during the Academy Awards. Despite only having 395 locations in 17 states, Culver's is planning a 60-second national buy introducing the country to its "unbelievable" customer service.

In the spot, a fairly psychotic looking cynic, "Dave," can't believe how polite the Culver's waitress is in a TV ad for the chain. He shakes his head at this "outbreak of niceness."

The "Get Culverized" campaign which follows Dave's antics will continue throughout the year. It is meant to target men and women ages 25-54. Marc USA, Chicago, handles.

"They obviously have big plans," said Jeff Davis, president of restaurant marketing research firm Sandelman & Associates. "They are well thought of and have a good brand following, but I'm surprised [by the national buy]. Maybe they got a good deal."

Chris Contino, vp, marketing for the chain, said in a statement: "Culver's roots are in the Midwest, but we're spreading across the country. We're proof that good companies grow even in challenging times."

Culver's plans to spend $14 million on the campaign, per the company which is based in Prairie du Sac, Wis. Radio, POP, grassroots events and a social media outreach on Twitter support.

The restaurant chain pulled in $590 million in sales in 2007, up from $532 million in 2006, per Technomic, Chicago. Last year's tally was not available.