Y&R Delivers El Pollo Loco’s Pecking Orders

LOS ANGELES Chicken chain El Pollo Loco has launched a campaign from Young & Rubicam inspired by Pavlov’s principles of conditioned response.

The effort is the first from Y&R since the Irvine, Calif., shop won the $7 million account in February. The campaign includes television and radio spots that introduce “Give in to the Pollo” as the tagline. Spending by the Irvine-based client was undisclosed.

Ads promote a limited-time offer of a whole chicken, tortillas and salsa for $7.99. Two 30-second and four 15-second TV spots open with El Pollo Loco’s chicken cooking over a flaming grill. One 30-second spot includes the text disclaimer, “All research and statistics are blatantly fictitious.” A voiceover says, “Research indicates people get 29 percent hungrier when looking at our specially seasoned citrus-marinated chicken on a hot, flaming grill.” Another 30-second ad shows eight pieces of chicken on the grill. A voiceover announces that customers can get half a chicken for $7.99, then says, “And if you act immediately, we’re going to give you the other half absolutely free.”

One 15-second spot includes the voiceover, “Mmm. Fire. Good.” Another states that in 1903, Pavlov stimulated individuals using a bell. The voiceover concludes, “Ding dong.”

“We want to mesmerize consumers by showing El Pollo Loco’s hypnotic chicken as it cooks over a flaming grill, revealing its crave-inducing power,” said Y&R svp and group creative director Rich Siegel.

The campaign is a departure from the client’s previous ads, which used an animated chicken and featured the tagline, “When things get crazy, you need El Pollo Loco.” Those ads were created by El Pollo Loco’s former agency, Dailey & Associates in West Hollywood, Calif.

TV spots are airing for the next eight weeks in 10 West Coast markets on programs such as Friends, George Lopez, 7th Heaven, 24, The West Wing and The Wonderful World of Disney. New 60-second radio commercials will complement the television ads.

The West Coast chain, which has more than 300 restaurants in California, Arizona, Nevada and Texas, is also breaking a new Spanish-language campaign from its Hispanic agency, cruz/kravetz: Ideas in Los Angeles.