More Guests Visit Round Table

As if creating Baby Bob weren’t enough, Siltanen/Keehn is now introducing viewers to a giant pink tongue and a youngster named Little B.

The characters appear as guests on Pizza Talk, the mock talk show created by the El Segundo, Calif., shop for Round Table Pizza. Six new 30-second TV spots are breaking now under the tagline, “The last honest pizza.” That line debuted in 1980 and was reintroduced when Round Table hired Siltanen/Keehn in 2000.

The 520-unit pizza chain, based in Walnut Creek, Calif., is spending about $4 million of its annual $10 million budget on the fall campaign, said chief marketing officer Glenn Lunde. The goals are to “make more impact and make sure people get that this is the best-tasting pizza,” he said.

Four spots for the Italian Garlic Supreme Pizza feature “Tongue,” a character played by a Cuban actor in a head-to-toe pink costume. In one spot, Tongue and Pizza Talk host Billy Sardell visit a Round Table restaurant to see how pizza is made. In another, a morose Tongue—who can’t play football or perform other activities because he doesn’t have any arms—cries tears of joy when Sardell offers him pizza.

“We liked the tongue. People [in focus groups] re membered it, and they also got the joke,” Lunde said. “We wanted to do more than show cheese pulls and tell people we have fresh cheese.”

Agency CEO Rob Siltanen said the shop wasn’t specifically looking for a Cuban actor to play Tongue. But he added: “We’ve seen guys in costume before, and we wanted this to be different.”

Two spots for the Big Vinnie pepperoni pizza feature Sardell and his “child clone,” Little B, who loves the pizza so much he offers a pledge (“One pizza, under eleven bucks”). Another spot has Sardell demonstrating the pizza’s girth by dropping it on a see-saw. Little B, seated on the other end, flies through the roof.

The spots will run through mid-December in the states where Round Table has restaurants—California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii.

Not all ads will air in each market. For example, the Big Vinnie spots, which target value-conscious consumers, will run in San Francisco and other areas that have been hit hard by the economic downturn, Lunde said. Evans, Hardy & Young in Santa Barbara, Calif., handled the media buy.