White Castle is taking full responsibility for the predicament its customers find themselves in after eating the chain's onion-laden burgers.
The Columbus, Ohio-based fast-food retailer is offering free breath mints with the purchase of its "Onion lover's special," which includes eight hamburgers, two orders of onion rings and two 20-oz. drinks. The "After Crave Mints" come in a specially designed miniature tin that bears the White Castle logo and tagline, "What you crave."
J. Walter Thompson, Detroit, the retailer's long-time ad agency, has created two 30-second TV spots, radio ads and point-of-sale materials to support the limited-time promotion, said Jamie Richardson, White Castle director of marketing. The campaign breaks this week.
"One of the things we challenge ourselves to do is to try and find distinctive ways to present our product," Richardson said. "There's kind of a natural fit to the ultimate di-lemma in terms of wanting that sack of burgers for lunch, but not necessarily having the after-crave mints available. We thought, 'Let's just make that part of the promotion.' We want people to be able to breathe easy."
Besides the six-year-old "What you crave" tagline, the new spots feature a sub-tagline with a title card that reads: "It's our version of the Clean Air Act."
"We think it's just kind of a fun way to emphasize the great taste of the product," Richardson said. The possibility exists that the retailer might extend the promotion and keep the mints around permanently, he said.
As a "public service" Sweetest Day tie-in to the promotion, White Castle is sending materials around to dating services in all 14 of its markets. The materials include a packet of the mints and coupons for free hamburgers. The outside says, "If someone takes your breath away this Sweetest Day..." and the inside finishes with: "Make sure it's fresh."
Separately, a promotion set to kick off in May will see 10 White Castle afficionados inducted into the "Cravers Hall of Fame."
The winners will be chosen after they send in stories detailing their love of the product and how much of an impact it has had on their lives. Some of these "winners" might be featured in future ads, Richardson said.