Dave & Buster's Touts Fun and Games


Merkley + Partners uses "Mini Me"-like characters dressed in sports uniforms to tout the on-premises games consumers play at Dave & Buster's in the shop's first effort for the restaurant chain.

The miniatures -- referred to as "funs" -- represent smaller, fun-loving versions of full-size characters that also appear in three TV spots, the first of which broke April 8.

That commercial, "Date Night," depicts a thirtysomething guy picking up a woman for a night out, with his miniature alter ego at his side.

"Oh, you brought your fun?" asks the woman.

He replies: "Yeah, I thought we'd go to Dave & Buster's. My fun really likes it there."

The woman's mini-character then appears behind her, interjecting: "You didn't say anything about Dave & Buster's. I thought you were going to a movie. Give me five minutes."

Two other spots, which break next week, depict a guy walking through an office with his "fun" and three guys looking down from a condominium balcony at their "funs" bouncing on a car in the parking lot. Each ad also promotes a $15.99 "eat and play combo" offer that includes an entrée and a $10 game card. The tagline is, "Feed your fun."

The estimated $15-20 million campaign, which also includes radio ads, digital and on-premise marketing, evolves Dave & Buster's previous effort, which featured more scenes in the restaurant itself and used the tag, "Eat, drink and play."

That earlier work was created by Dallas agency Slingshot, which Merkley succeeded in November after winning a review of creative duties.

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