CRACKER BARREL ROLLS OUT WELCOME MAT TO LOCALS; RESTAURANTS NOT JUST FOR TRAVELERS

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Cracker Barrel Old Country is re-introducing itself to local-market customers as a homey, comfort-foods destination.

The objective with TV advertising is to expand the family dining chain's marketing beyond the interstate traveler and better target locals-especially in mature markets.

"We think of these as locally focused campaigns," said Jim Fisher, VP-marketing. "Our goal with TV is to target the light to medium customers and get them in more often. It's really a reminder of what we're all about."

Mr. Fisher said the average Cracker Barrel customer visits four times per month.

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A new 30-second spot broke this month and is the second execution in the chain's first TV campaign from Cramer-Krasselt, Chi-cago. The spot is airing in 12 markets, mostly in the Southeast. The campaign began in September.

Cramer-Krasselt won the $10 million account in November 1995 from Buntin Group, Nashville, Tenn. Prior to changing agencies, Cracker Barrel did virtually no TV advertising, relying instead on outdoor boards to entice travelers.

In 1995, Cracker Barrel spent $2.6 million in measured media, according to Competitive Media Reporting.

The TV spots cast a folksy light on the chain. The latest spot, "Casserole Dish," depicts housewives in a living-room setting offering secrets of getting back a casserole dish from a friend, and promotes Cracker Barrel's $6.49 chicken casserole special.

A previous spot, "Dressing for Turkey," was set in a clothing store, where a tailor showed the proper attire for eating a turkey.

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