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Weber Backs Downtown Locale

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Weber Grill Restaurants wants to draw diners from throughout Chicagoland as well as visitors to the city with a campaign from & Wojdyla that backs the chain's first downtown location.

"The company that set the standard for grills is now doing the same for restaurants," reads an outdoor board that will run in the city's transit system. "No jacket or bug repellent required," promises a bus-side message.

"Creating awareness of the concept is a big hurdle," said David Wojdyla, the Chicago agency's founder and creative director for the campaign.

The restaurants are a subsidiary of Weber-Stephen Products in Palantine, Ill., which makes and markets the familiar kettle grills. The restaurants use those grills to cook entrées and side dishes.

Weber Grill Restaurants has two suburban Chicago locales, the first of which opened in the late 1980s, but they are not particularly well-known in the area and people do not always connect the parent with the eateries.

"It's the first question people ask when they walk in the door," Wojdyla said. When they are told the restaurant is indeed under the same ownership as the grill maker, "they're pleasantly surprised," he said. "They have a grill in their backyard, they trust Weber."

"So many people are familiar with the grill," agreed Julie Creinin, marketing manager for Weber Grill Restaurants. Part of the chain's marketing challenge is "getting the message across that we're part of the same company," she said.

Part of the restaurants' purpose is "definitely to sell more grills," Creinin acknowledged. "But [Weber-Stephen] also looks at the restaurants as part of the future growth plan."

Having a downtown restaurant offers exposure to people from throughout the area as well as tourists, she said.

In addition to outdoor, & Wojdyla's advertising is set for Chicago magazine's July issue and this week's editions of the Chicago Tribune (in a run that began last Friday). Ads are also appearing in United Airlines' in-flight Hemispheres, as well as editions of Stagebill and Playbill.

Campaign spending was not dis closed. The shop also advertises Weber grills, an assignment it picked up earlier this year after the client left Campbell Mithun in Chicago.