Archer>malmo on Order

Shop’s savvy on Southern deli chain helps it win $3-4 mil. account

Archer>malmo won the McAlister’s Deli account because of the shop’s understanding of “how the South does deli” and how the restaurants are unique, said the client’s CEO.

The Memphis, Tenn., agency delivered an array of creative work during its presentation to a search committee that included company executives and franchisees. But it was the proposed tagline, “McAlister’s Deli. How the South does deli,” that clinched the estimated $3-4 million business for the shop, said Phil Friedman, CEO for the Ridgeland, Miss.-based chain.

The line distinguishes McAlister’s from New York delis and “is a nice proxy for all the good things about McAlister’s … good food, healthy portions, comfortable environment,” said agency president and CEO Russ Williams. “Our planners came up with … a tagline that was right on target and powerful.”

Search consultant Stephen Pettise of Golden Spike Resources, Los Angeles, handled the review, which came down to Southeast shops that included co-finalist Fricks/Firestone in Atlanta. There was no incumbent.

“Both [finalists] came up with good approaches, but archer>malmo came up with a Southern flavor,” Friedman said.

The chain began in Oxford, Miss., home of the University of Mississippi. Archer>malmo’s pitch team included staff who were familiar with the chain, which the client appreciated. “A lot of them knew McAlister’s from Ole Miss,” said Friedman. “We’re a cult thing there and they picked up on the excitement of that. They’re customers.”

The agency’s first plans are a broadcast, public relations and in-store campaign for the Jackson, Miss., market before March.