Buffalo Wild Wings didn’t have to venture too far beyond its own logo to find the concept for its first campaign from Anomaly L.A.
Buffalo Wild Wings welcomes a talking winged buffalo in first work from Anomaly
The new spots, like the logo, feature a winged buffalo. But this one is the life of the party. Named Hank, the CGI character is voiced by “Saturday Night Live” alum (and former AT&T spokesman) Beck Bennett and represents the embodiment of the ideal BWW fan—a character who’s loud, charismatic, really into food and sports and loves hanging with his buddies to watch a game.
But don’t tell Hank he’s hanging out at BWW just because he’s a winged buffalo. That would be, as we learn in the launch spot, insulting.
Anomaly won the BWW account in May after a pitch, a few months after Tristan Meline was promoted internally to chief marketing officer. The chain had worked with The Martin Agency for five years before that.
“This campaign is about finding the voice of Buffalo Wild Wings as a way of defining what the brand is all about, and the role it plays in our guests’ lives,” said Meline. “Turns out the voice we found is a literal winged buffalo named Hank—which is essentially our logo come to life and only something B-Dubs could do. We’re excited about this new creative and the next chapter of the brand.”
Untold Studios handled the visual effects in creating Hank. Untold’s prior ad creations include a motorcycle-riding Highland cow for Virgin Media; a rollerblading turtle for British train company Avanti West Coast; and a pint-sized fire-breathing dragon for John Lewis.
“When a brief like this comes in, it’s an easy yes,” said Khara Wagner, president of Anomaly L.A. “Everyone in the building has a memory with the brand. But everyone in the country just spent the last few years enjoying beer, wings and sports at home. The challenge was to bring them back again or bring them in for the first time by showcasing the experience you can only get at Buffalo Wild Wings.”
A second spot featuring Hank highlights Bourbon BBQ wings. Buffalo Wild Wings plans to offer Bulleit Bourbon BBQ sauce available for a limited time this football season.
The spots were directed by Tony Yacenda at Smuggler. A 60-second version of the launch spot will break on Aug. 31, and additional shorter spots will follow on Sept. 4.
Josh Fell, chief creative officer at Anomaly L.A., joked that Yacenda got the casting just right. “When Hank walked into the audition with his wild wings and, you know, being a talking buffalo, we knew we found our guy. And he knew he found a steady paycheck,” Fell said.
Bennett also offered tongue-in-cheek thoughts on being approached to play a talking buffalo with wild wings. “I didn’t think it would be medically possible,” he said. “I couldn’t be more excited for people to see the new campaign and tone that we’ve created with B-Dubs and the advances we’ve made in the medical world.”
Buffalo Wild Wings is owned by Inspire Brands, which is backed by private equity firm Roark Capital. Roark made headlines last week by acquiring Subway in a deal reportedly valued at about $9.55 billion.