Duke Shifts Sizzle to Founder

Duke Unlimited here this month launched a national spring print campaign for Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.
The steakhouse chain, which operates 67 restaurants nationwide, is scheduling more than 50 placements in national print media. Billings were undisclosed.
“The main focus is to make [owner] Ruth Fertel more prominent,” said Duke creative director Marcy Nathan. “She’s being introduced for the first time as the primary spokesperson.”
Nathan said Fertel has always had a secondary role in campaigns, but has never been the primary focus in advertising. This effort, which is running in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Forbes and Fortune, tells interesting stories about the founder and the eatery’s history.
“When Ruth started her first restaurant in the 1960s, she was a woman in a man’s game,” Nathan said. “She’s a genuine personality. She’s the driving force behind the steakhouse and is actively involved.”
Advertising also emphasizes the chain’s roots. Fertel opened her first Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in the Big Easy, where the chain’s corporate headquarters are still located.
“The campaign focuses on the New Orleans connection, not just talking about the beginning in [this city] but also what New Orleans–which is known for fun and food–adds to the restaurant,” Nathan said.
“When we talk about the sizzle at Ruth’s Chris,” she added, “it’s not just the sizzle of the steak, it’s the sizzle of the restaurant–the atmosphere sizzles, the service sizzles and naturally the steak does, too.”
Nathan was the creative director on the campaign; Phil Collier served as art director; and Stewart Charles Cohen of Dallas was responsible for the still photography.
The print advertising is supported by a radio component, also produced by Duke.