Service Central in Y&L's New Steak n' Shake Spots | Adweek Service Central in Y&L's New Steak n' Shake Spots | Adweek
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Service Central in Y&L's New Steak n' Shake Spots

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A television campaign from Young & Laramore for Steak n' Shake takes jabs at fast-food service and quality while promoting the chain's full-service operation.

In one of the new commercials from the Indianapolis agency, a tax auditor with the "Eternal Revenue Service" notes a client's 14 trips to fictitious chain "Box Burger," where he carried trays, served food, filled drinks and bused tables, yet did not report any income from the activity. "All that work and no pay ... what kind of fool do you take us for?" an agent asks.

Another spot revives the "work-araunt" theme from earlier advertising, showing a father's multiple trips from a fast-food booth and the message: "At Steak n' Shake, we're a restaurant. You sit and I do the work." A second 10-second spot follows the onscreen logo to add that the children's meal comes with a prize: "It's called a Steakburger."

Tagline for the work remains, "Famous for Steakburgers."

Additional TV pitches sell realmilk-based shakes, the "Takhomasak" takeout bag (in a spelling bee sketch) and 24-hour service. One 10-second spot unfavorably compares frozen rectangular and circular fast-food burger patties to the chain's irregular, "spatular"-shaped Steakburger.

Seven 30- and two 10-second commercials began airing last week in the Indianapolis-based chain's 19-market region, including its core Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Florida territories, plus the new additions of Dallas and Pittsburgh.

"We think our formula's right," said Victor Yeandel, Steak n' Shake's vp of marketing. "The burgers are better, the shakes are better, and I think that's the story of Steak n' Shake: It's still real."

Nevertheless, in its most recent quarter ending July 3, the chain's same-store sales fell 1.9 percent.

The chain spent about $10 million on advertising in 2001, per CMR.

Y&L's campaign parallels efforts by full-service, casual-dining chains like Applebee's, Chili's, Red Lobster and Olive Garden to cut into the turf of fast-food restaurants, which are the destination for almost 75 percent of all eating occasions, according to NPD Foodworld, Port Washington, N.Y.