A&W Retains Cornett as AOR After a Decade

By Kyle O'Brien 

America’s first franchised QSR chain, A&W Restaurants, will retain its advertising agency of record, Cornett, which has represented the brand for over a decade.

As a franchisee-owned company with more than 500 restaurants in the United States, A&W periodically evaluates all partners to ensure its operators are receiving the best support. Cornett recently participated and won A&W’s marketing RFP.

A&W Restaurants is experiencing a resurgence, which is due partly to its strong commitment to creative marketing.


“One of the key reasons we chose to stay with Cornett as our advertising partner is their track record of delivering innovative and creative campaigns that really help us to stand out in a crowded marketplace,” said Liz Bazner, senior director of marketing for A&W Restaurants in a statement. “Cornett’s passion for our brand is palpable, and we’re thrilled to move into A&W’s second century of growth with a talent-stacked team.”

Shortly after landing the account in 2013, Cornett focused its marketing strategy on the iconography of its carhop-era past, giving the brand identity an air of nostalgia. The campaign reminded Boomers of what they loved about the chain while engaging a new generation of young customers by transitioning into a future-forward fast-casual concept.

Winning initiatives for the brand include the Chicken Tender Lovin’ Valentine’s Day gift program, which offered a sensual suite of offbeat gifts in response to the chicken sandwich wars other QSR chains were engaged in at the time, and branded tchotchkes like Tender Lovin’ Lip Balm with real A&W fryer oil and a breaded chicken-design body pillow.

The brand also introduced a 3/9th burger, due to a marketing gaffe from decades ago. When A&W’s 1/3rd pound burger went head-to-head with the McDonald’s Quarter Pounder in the early 1980s, fraction-challenged Americans believed that this beefier burger actually contained less meat.

“Over the last decade, Cornett and A&W have grown so much, and we’ve done it together,” said Christy Hiler, president and owner of Cornett in a statement.