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Back to the Buffet

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BBDO Minneapolis contrasts a meal at Old Country Buffets to dining out at traditional family and fast-food restaurants in its latest work for the chain.

The estimated $25 million campaign, which breaks today, is meant to position OCB as the best alternative to eating at home.

"It's a great place to have a good dinner without having to deal with the hassles" of other dining establishments, said Kara Connolly, senior copywriter at the agency.

One TV spot pokes fun at the overly enthusiastic wait staff found at many family-oriented chains. In the ad, mother and children sit at a dinner table. Dad enters the room, introduces himself as their server and writes his name on the table. "This would never happen at home," says a voiceover as the family heads out to OCB. "That's why it will never happen here."

Another spot depicts a father ordering "chicken tidbits" and "some of those fried-potato things" from a drive-through microphone in his driveway. The spot concludes with the same voiceover and the company's existing tagline, "Great choice."

The Eagan, Minn.-based chain wants the campaign to re con nect with families, its core consumer base. Last year's effort from BBDO attempted to entice a different set of diners, such as office workers at lunch or those on a diet.

The campaign will air in 65 markets, including Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit and Los Angeles. OCB parent Buffets Inc. spent $20 million last year on advertising for all its properties, including OCB and Country Buffets, according to CMR.