"Everyone's Italian" in kicky ads from Meridian Communications and Intrator & Partners for Fazoli's Italian Restaurants.
Kuni Toyoda, Fazoli's CEO, wanted the $10 million television campaign to have the freshness of a Target ad, said Meridian chief Mary Ellen Slone, who has worked on the Louisville, Ky.-based account for 10 years.
"In any given week we produce 60 different assignments, including print and radio," she said. "But when the client shows you Target ads from The New York Times, you say, 'OK. You can look like Target.' "
She added, "Then you get on the phone and call Michael Jeary [of Della Femina/Jeary and Partners] and ask for a name."
The result was a partnership between consultant David Intrator and the Lexington, Ky., agency's creative team, which is headed by vice president Ave Lawyer.
"Kuni wanted the [two 30-second] spots to look hip and minimal," Slone said. "David brings the aura of the New York creative."
In "Panini," a blonde savors her favorite Italian words. "Bacci," she winks. "That means 'to kiss.' " But her favorite is panini, Fazoli's new sandwich. "I like that!"
"Italian 101" promotes a sampler by showing an Asian woman and an Irish man correcting each other's Italian pronunciation.
"Sure to bring out the Italian in everybody" is the tag on each spot.
The ads break April 16 on network affiliates in Lexington, Ky.; Orlando and Tallahassee, Fla.; Raleigh and Durham, N.C.; Phoenix; Indianapolis; and Milwaukee.