Evans, Hardy ‘Salsafies’ Chi-Chi’s

Special Effects Give Restaurant Chain’s TV Spots an Extra Kick
LOS ANGELES–Evans, Hardy & Young adds a dash of special effects to a new round of TV spots for Chi-Chi’s Restaurants.
The “Salsaphone” spots feature characters who phone the restaurant and are “salsafied” by a server’s description of Chi-Chi’s new Sizzling Sensations menu items.
In one 30-second spot, “Walls,” a listless executive becomes so excited about the grilled chicken and steak enchiladas from the Mexican-style restaurant chain that he dances on the walls of his office, like Fred Astaire in Royal Wedding.
To achieve that effect, the agency built an entire office set on its side and turned the camera sideways for filming, according Jim Evans, president of the Santa Barbara, Calif., agency. A large desk and other furniture items were bolted to the wall to complete the illusion.
Other spots, supporting new menu items, will feature even more outrageous gags and situations, Evans said. “Each subsequent commercial will be larger than life,” he said. “We’re adding energy and memorability.
“The whole campaign centers around the feeling and experience you get when you dine at Chi-Chi’s,” he added. “Sizzling new menu choices you can’t find anywhere else along with a festive, ‘salsafied’ dining atmosphere.”
“Life always needs a little salsa” replaces “Put the sizzle back in your life” as the tagline.
The “Salsaphone” spots are the newest installment of Evans, Hardy’s broadcast and print campaign for the Louisville, Ky.-based casual dining chain. The latest TV, radio and print ads broke earlier this month in 35 markets in the Midwest and on the East Coast.
After handling the client’s media buying for about two years, Evans, Hardy picked up creative duties on the estimated $12 million account in January, and launched its first creative efforts in March. Campbell Mithun Esty in Minneapolis resigned the account late last year.