Jack Introduces Menu Items

los angeles—Jack in the Box’s advertising mascot is straying into new territory to introduce additions to the fast-food restaurant’s menu.

New television spots breaking now from Secret Weap-on Marketing again feature Jack, the chain’s “founder,” part clown and part serious CEO, who has been central to the company’s marketing for a number of years. As usual, Jack appears as a man in a business suit with an oversized, ball-shaped white head and pointed cap. His voice is provided by the Santa Monica, Calif., agency’s founder and creative director, Dick Sittig.

In a spot introducing the Chipotle Chicken Sandwich, Jack is visiting an open-air Hispanic produce market in search of new ingredients. A woman tells him about the chipotle pepper, but Jack is unable to get the name right. As hemangles the word, offering pronunciations such as “Chipoddle,” the blue smile painted on his face is contorted into squiggly lines. Finally, when he tries to repeat the woman’s farewell, she tells him in English to “just go.”

A commercial for the chain’s new turkey burger shows Jack in bed with his wife, “Cricket.” After a good-night kiss, she asks, “You want me to be happy—right?” When he replies he does, she proposes adding a turkey burger to the restaurant’s menu. “Consider it done,” says Jack. As the lights dim, he says slyly, “Honey? You want to make me happy—right?”

Spending for the campaign was not disclosed. The San Diego-based chain spent nearly $70 million on advertising last year and more than $40 million through August of this year, according to CMR.

The shop introduced the mascot more than five years ago after launching as the Kowloon Wholesale Seafood Co. “We probably do 18-25 spots for Jack in the Boxeach year,” said Pat Adams, the agency’s managing director. “That may not be a lot for a client in the fast-food category, but the client finds it more efficient to work with a smaller shop.”

Since its founding, Adams noted, the 10-person agency has only worked on the one account.

Jack in the Box operates 1,869 locations in 17 states.

The company recently reported a fourth-quarter net income drop of 32 percent, to $14 million, from nearly $21 million in the year-earlier period.