MINNEAPOLIS - Martin/Williams played a longshot in its quest for Shoney's Restaurants and it paid off last week when the Nashville, Tenn.-based chain awarded the agency its $15-18 million account.
M/W bested 15-year incumbent Ogilvy & Mather/Atlanta and Hal Riney & Partners/San Francisco in the final round of presentations.
M/W was committed to winning a restaurant account after parting 10 months ago with Bonanza Restaurants. The agency ran an ad in Nation's Restaurant News and a direct-mail campaign to chains announcing its availability.
M/W was not among the 15 agencies Shoney's originally contacted. But after hearing of the review and attempting several calls to Shoney's executives, M/W chairman/ceo Dave Floren sent vp/director of new business development Mike Gray to personally deliver a reel.
Gray was allowed to leave the reel, but not meet the client. Shoney's vp/marketing Jeff Sowell had his secretary relay a message that the company had a number of reels to consider and didn't think it was fair to meet with Gray just because he'd made the trek to Nashville, but allowed him to leave the tape.
'Once they saw the reel, they called us and told us we had to pitch the business,' Floren said.
Having gotten in, the agency sent several senior executives to more than 75 Shoney's Restaurants in a dozen cities to augment other research with some first-hand observation. The strategy M/W developed focused on Shoney's homey feeling and ability to do what the agency believes the chain does better than anyone else: serve its customers with good food and service.
Floren called the win a 'validation we can compete on a national playing field.'
Copyright Adweek L.P. (1993)