Richards Accents Carino’s Italian Personality

DALLAS The Richards Group’s new TV campaign for Johnny Carino’s promotes the restaurant’s distinct personality and introduces the tagline, “Your place in the Italian countryside.”

The independent Dallas agency created two 30-second spots for Johnny Carino’s parent company, Fired Up! Launched yesterday, the campaign also includes print, radio, outdoor and in-store materials, which broke earlier this year, the shop said.

“Cheese Maker” opens with an unassuming man riding his bike through the Italian countryside. As he passes a group of teenage schoolgirls, they begin screaming wildly as they chase him down a cobblestone street. When they finally overtake him, they begin to tear off his clothing before he’s able to escape inside a nearby building. A voiceover then says, “In the Italian countryside, cheese makers are like rock stars. Come share that passion for food at Johnny Carino’s.” The spot ends with the new tag, “Your place in the Italian countryside.”

“Wireless” shows Italian men and women communicating with hand gestures and nonverbal cues. In one scene, an older man throws up his arms in disbelief at his stalled car. A voiceover says, “In the Italian countryside, wireless communication is nothing new. Come share stories of the bold, flavorful cooking of the countryside at Johnny Carino’s.” The spot ends with restaurant footage of customers expressing themselves with laughter and spirited toasts.

The two spots will air for three weeks in Texas, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana and Arkansas markets, the agency said. Print ads will appear in the major dailies of Dallas, Houston and Austin, Texas; Denver; Boise, Idaho; Lafayette, La.; and Little Rock, Ark. Media spending is undisclosed.

Based in Austin, Fired Up! operates and franchises 111 Johnny Carino’s restaurants in 20 states. Richards won the media and creative account last November after incumbent McGarrah/Jessee resigned the business.