Golden Corral plays on the classic aphorism, “You Are What You Eat,” in a series of new creative spots from The Via Agency.
The Raleigh, North Carolina-based buffet chain’s comical and colorful 15-second ads, featuring actors who resemble their favorite foods, debuted today as the latest iteration in its “The Only One For Everyone” campaign—which positions Golden Corral as the only place where people with different tastes can share a table for memorable moments. Still, the new quirky creative from Portland, Maine’s The Via Agency breathes new life into the campaign—earlier spots featured standard restaurant gatherings viewers have grown accustomed to seeing in fast-casual dining advertising. The new spots were directed by Claire Cottrell, a Los Angeles-based director and photographer.
“I’ve been working on the brand since we [won] it almost six years ago, and this is the most excited I’ve been with the creative,” says Teddy Stoecklein, The Via Agency group creative director.
Stoecklein explains that the agency decided to “restart” the creative after it poached The Community’s Bobby Hershfield as its new chief creative officer in July, following the death of Greg Smith a few months earlier. Earlier iterations were “not resonating” as well with consumers or properly showcasing Golden Corral’s “brand and energy” as this new work does, he adds.
“We’ve made the creative very different, not just for Golden Corral, but the category,” Stoecklein says. “The energy of the music, the color palette; it’s very indicative of the experience you get when you go to the buffet.”
Stoecklein also notes the competitiveness of the category, and that when The Via Agency won lead creative duties for Golden Corral in 2014, it “knew we had an uphill battle” to make the company stand out amid a challenged fast-casual dining space, which has been in decline since the 2008 financial crisis.
Hershfield adds that typical advertising in the category, including "beauty shots of food," will never completely go away. Rather, with this new creative, he says he hopes to shift the focus "to find more connections beyond food and experience" and try to "make people identify with a feeling."
“Individuality is at the core of Golden Corral,” Golden Corral Senior Vice President of Marketing Tim Schroder said in a statement. “As the largest buffet in the category, only we truly appeal to just about any personality, any individual and any craving. This campaign was created with our one-of-a-kind identity at its heart.”