San francisco agency Blazing Paradigm didn't have to go far for inspiration on Food.com's first major consumer ad campaign that breaks today.
"Somehow combining the Internet with food was a magical combination," said agency partner Sam Pond, explaining that the spots aim to entertain people while telling them there's more to ordering out online than just pizza and Chinese food.
Food.com, formerly known as Cybermeals, is spending $3 million to $5 million on a campaign, which includes print, TV, radio and outdoor boards. The ads will begin running in Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, and then in June begin appearing in Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Seattle and other areas.
The ads feature kitschy scenes of people serving up less than appetizing dishes. In one print ad, a '50s housewife proclaims "Hurry, Sam, your dinner is getting away!" as a pig leaps from the oven squealing "Food.com." The tagline: "Sometimes it's best to order in."
In a commercial a desperate man tries to pry a package of chips from a vending machine.
FUN WORLD OF FOOD
"The ads have a little bit of twist and attitude," said Katie Vogelheim, senior VP-marketing and business development at Food.com. "We've done quite a bit of market research and the world of food should be a fun place to be--we have to be irreverent in our conversation with the consumer."
The takeout service is going after a disparate crowd: office workers and college students, with about half the ads targeting each. Most of the ads aiming at the universities will hit in the fall and be accompanied with a direct online and offline campaign, she said. There's also a campaign running in partner newspapers around the country.
The bulk of Food.com's online efforts are in a six-year, $20 million deal to be the exclusive takeout service on America Online. It also has a marketing relationship with Microsoft Corp.'s Sidewalk and others. The company is also talking to game sites and affiliates in online categories including home video rental and sales, desserts and wines.
"Our strategy is to have the site start growing into the world of dining and food and entertainment," Ms. Vogelheim said.
Copyright May 1999, Crain Communications Inc.