Buntin’s Story of O’

In new work from The Buntin Group, O’Charley’s Restaurants is dropping its traditional promotion-driven spots for television, radio and print ads that proclaim, “Good food and good times start with O’.”

The first of two TV commercials broke last week on network and cable channels during news and prime-time shows in 26 Southeast and Midwest markets. Print advertising for the Nashville, Tenn.-based chain will begin appearing later this month.

The new branding strategy arises from studies conducted for Buntin by Creative Research in Chicago and by a behavioral psychologist who consults with the agency, said Jamie Dunham, executive vice president of account services at the Nashville shop.

Ads show people preparing for meals in places outside O’Charley’s Restaurants. In “Fireside O’Sizz-lers,” an extended family gathers at a mountainside cabin. The scene is intercut with close-ups of the client’s steak platters.

“Most restaurants have promotion calendars set by the kind of food they’re selling, but the kind of experience is equally important,” said Dunham. “So we picked situations and events that our customer base relates to and matched them with the O’Charley’s experience.”

Driving the TV and radio ads is a jingle written by Buntin creative director Kerry Graham that repeats the client’s name and message.

O’Charley’s spent $5 million on advertising in 2001 and more than $6 million last year, per CMR.