After 34 years of entertaining utensil-free crowds, the stage fighters who joust in the arena at Medieval Times no longer vie for the favor of the king. Last fall, the dinner theater chain replaced its long-reigning male monarch with a queen, the first woman to rule over the 11th-century court featured in the restaurant's two-hour play. She's also now at the heart of its advertising.
A new story-driven spot created in-house and directed by Danny Yourd of Pittsburgh-based studio Animal leans into the pageantry and drama of a young ruler who must learn to assert her authority with a cadre of knights used to dealing with her father.
Perhaps taking cues from popular dramas like "Game of Thrones," it's a far cry from how Medieval Times has traditionally marketed itself, touting deals for children or students, or playing to an audience that might consider attending a wrestling match over a night of armored combat. There's no mention of price or location, no announcer beating the viewer over the head with a call to action. The Queen narrates her own story, while men in tabards and plumed helmets battle in a sandy pit.
Medieval Times President Perico Montaner "wanted us to focus on who we are and the integrity and authenticity of what we do, not stray too far into being creative for the sake of it," says Synthia Feliciano-Johnson, director of marketing for the brand. "We absolutely wanted to be sure the Queen was a highlight, as for the first time in our almost 35-year history, we now have a matriarch!" The marketing team also wanted to make sure the spot would have wide appeal.
The script with the queen is currently being performed at four locations, but it begins in Orlando next week and will be the standard at all nine locations by the end of the year. Groundbreaking just occurred at a tenth location in Arizona, which will only ever perform the Queen script. "We wanted to be able to have dynamic content to create deliverables that speak to each user regardless of when or where they are consuming media," Feliciano-Johnson says.
The new 60-second spot will be running on TV in all Medieval Times markets, as well as in OTT and social placements.