CHURCHS CHICKEN CHAIN COURTS LATINO AUDIENCE WITH FUN, COLORFUL ADS

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Churchs Chicken aims to boost brand awareness among Latino consumers with a TV campaign that takes the guilt out of takeout.

The Spanish-language ads, from Atkins Agency, San Antonio, debut Oct. 28 in seven Southwest markets where the chain has a strong concentration of Latino consumers.

The marketer declined to provide spending figures. Overall, Churchs spent $8.8 million last year in measured media, according to Competitive Media Reporting. The fast-food chain has said it will increase the amount it spends on marketing to Latinos by some 45% next year, as well as double radio spending.

Austin Kelley Advertising, Atlanta, handles Churchs' general-market advertising.

OVERCOMING CULTURAL BARRIERS

"In the Latino community, there are a number of cultural barriers to not cooking," said Michael Bald, VP-brand strategy and marketing for Churchs, referring to a social stigma against women who do not prepare meals for their families in their own kitchens.

He said the campaign positions the chain as a place that can provide a value-price dinner and free up consumers to engage in more pressing activities.

Churchs is the fifth-largest U.S. chicken chain, with some 1,100 domestic restaurants that feature a value-oriented menu of Southern-style fried chicken and side dishes. It is part of AFC Enterprises, also parent to Popeyes Chicken & Biscuits.

FUN SITUATIONS

Churchs formerly marketed to Latinos-who represent half its customer base-with a straight-forward approach. Ads featured only food shots and a price message. The new commercials show consumers in fun situations.

The first 30-second spot uses a music video approach. Men play drums on outsize take-out cups and use chicken drumsticks as maracas while women dance the cha-cha. Colorful graphics of jalapenos pop up on the screen.

The spots will air in Dallas; Houston; El Paso, San Antonio, Laredo and McAllen, Texas, and in Phoenix. Radio spots with similar themes will air in those markets.

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