How Five Guys, a Brand Built on Customer Experience, Finally Warmed Up to Advertising

Marketing vp Molly Catalano reflects on chain's massive growth and digital evolution

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To customers, Five Guys is best known as a no-frills, dependably satisfying burger chain with a red-and-white aesthetic and a minimalist menu. But in the marketing world, Five Guys is known for being one of the rarest unicorns: an international chain that doesn’t advertise.

Since being founded in Washington, D.C., in 1986, the brand has balked at paid ads, focusing instead on its in-store experience and, as it grew across the nation and then the globe, the publicity boost each time it expanded into a new market.

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