Winchell’s Returns With TV Ads

Winchell’s Donut House is launching a campaign this week to remind customers that when all else fails, they can still count on their doughnuts.

The effort, by Wasserman & Partners Advertising and its sister company, Detroit Creative Group, both in Vancouver, Brit ish Columbia, includes three 10-second TV spots. The media buy, handled by Initiative Media in Los Angeles, is worth $1 million, said Ron Roberts, client senior manager of sales and marketing.

Winchell’s, based in Santa Ana, Calif., is the West Coast’s most extensive doughnut chain, with more than 200 units in 10 states. But it has done little TV advertising in the past decade. Spurred by a new management team, including Roberts, and increased competition from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, which expanded into Southern California several years ago, the 53-year-old chain is hoping to increase visits by lapsed customers and attract new ones.

One step was the August hire of Wasserman, a 50-person ad agency, and Detroit Creative Group, a 15-person strategic marketing and creative design firm.

“The brand lost a lot of ground [over the last 10 years],” said Roberts. “Winchell’s has been so well-known for its core items—our doughnuts and baked goods. We decided to put the focus back on [that].”

The campaign’s tagline, “Warm ‘n fresh everyday,” was introduced two years ago to fend off Krispy Kreme, said Larry Donen, who worked as a consultant for Winchell’s for three years before joining Detroit Creative Group as president.

“Krispy Kreme actually did us quite a favor by coming into the market,” said Donen. “They pro vided the impetus for us to become focused on containing our core market and proving to Californians that we make a better product.”

The spots feature a man, John, who experiences several bad breaks. In one, his dog takes off with the newspaper. In another, his car breaks down. A third ad sees him preparing a romantic candlelight dinner for his girlfriend only to hear her call and say she is “going to Miami with Antonio, again.”

A voiceover says, “At least you can depend on your doughnut.” The spots end with a product shot.

The ads were produced in English and Spanish, and could be expanded into 15- or 30-second spots, Donen said. They are set to air in L.A., where Winchell’s has 95 stores.