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Dairy Queen Tries Something Different

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NEW YORK Dairy Queen, the ice cream and fast-food restaurant chain, this week launched a campaign from Grey, New York, that differs markedly in tone from the shop's previous work for the brand.
 
The campaign -- with seven TV commercials, 15 radio spots, the microsites blizzardfanclub.com and deeqs.com (which were made by space150, Minneapolis) as well as packaging -- seeks to position Dairy Queen as a family-friendly destination, territory that McDonald's has long occupied.
 
In the 30-second "Parent Day," several kids are in awe when a parent explains that he is a Dairy Queen franchisee and is making everyone a Blizzard, an ice cream treat. Listening to the resulting hullabaloo are what would otherwise be amazing professionals in the eyes of children: lion tamer, astronaut and man hovering in a jet pack. The lion tamer turns to his lion and says, "Tough act to follow."
 
"Dairy Queens are not perceived as large, faceless corporations. Many customers say, 'At my DQ this happens,'" said Michael Keller, chief brand officer, Dairy Queen, Minneapolis. "By having the franchisee at the center of spot, for a lot people it's easier to relate to the hero in the community than someone who is an astronaut or spy."
 
Grey has handled the account since 1997. The previous campaign saw adults in humorous situations forced to defend their sweet treats from being eaten by greedy strangers.
 
"There is no doubt that McDonald's owns childhood, if you will," said Ari Halper, svp, cd, Grey. "But the knock on McDonald's is that it's a big, corporate brand that is McDonald's-sizing the U.S. We don't get hit by that."