TV ads supporting the new line, from Suissa Miller, Santa Monica, Calif., are slated to break nationally Feb. 10, with spending estimated at $30 million. The campaign has been testing in Philadelphia since Jan. 6.
Other things in the works include Boston Kids Market, a marketing program that will include kids' meals and promotional tie-ins.
The program will roll out late in the second quarter.
Other menu items, such as expanded bakery goods or even breakfast items, are also possible, said Bill McDonald, chief marketing officer.
BUDGET TO TOP $100 MILLION
These initiatives will be bolstered by a total 1997 marketing budget of $100 million to $120 million, he said.
The new sandwiches now being launched-an extension of the existing Boston Carver line introduced last year-feature larger portions and flavorful ingredients, such as grilled onions, melted cheese and smoked bacon. They're designed to take the restaurant chain beyond its dinner-focused convenience meals image and target 18-to-34-year-old male fast-food consumers.
"The Boston Carver brand as it exists was appealing to our core customers because it was fresh, with hand-carved meat," Mr. McDonald said. "But the piece missing was cravability. It's a left-brain sandwich; we wanted a right-brain product for this market."
Although lunch already accounts for 40% of average unit volume, he said the company hopes a more enticing lunch product will increase frequency of visits.
To appeal to the target demographic, Mr. McDonald said TV spots will get heavy airing on network and cable sports programming. Creative parodies highbrow fashion and fragrance ads.
As part of a virtual agency arrangement, Suissa shares creative assignments with Goldberg Moser O'Neill, San Francisco, and Team One, El Segundo, Calif.
Contributing: Alice Z. Cuneo.