Red Robin Gourmet Burgers’ new advertising campaign focuses on burgers while simultaneously promoting its variety. “24 burgers. A million reasons” is the new tagline from Vitro, selected as national creative agency of record in January.
Three new 30-second TV spots all feature the same unnamed young woman (at r.) who, like Wendy’s “Red” character, is the new face of the brand. Importantly it’s an adult face that isn’t accompanied by children’s faces as Red Robin moves to remake itself as a more adult-centered brand that also welcomes families. One spot, “Liars,” promotes Red Robin’s popular Bottomless Steak Fries feature. “Burger Daddy” spotlights the $6.99 Tavern Double Burger the chain introduced as a lower-price entry burger last year. The third spot, “Hard Work,” touts Red Robin’s burgers being voted tops among full-service restaurants by Zagat for the past four years. The new campaign replaces the “Yummm” effort from past agency Periscope.
The new ad campaign’s focus is in line with the “brand transformation” efforts that Red Robin CEO Steve Carley has been telling Wall Street about over the past year. As he explained during February’s Q4 earnings call, the transformation involves “not just new paint and wallpaper. It’s enhancing our service, our menu, our food presentation and every single other guest touchpoint that cement Red Robin’s position as the go-to-place for families and kids and additionally, places firmly in the consideration set for adults, spending a night out as a couple or with friends.”
New engagement upgrades are being tested in selected Red Robin locations now. Carley said results wouldn’t be in until Q3 but the chain is rolling out a new spiral-bound menu and shifting to real china from paper-wrapped burgers in plastic baskets. A premium-price burger line also is in the works.
But Red Robin knows it needs to promote more than burgers to draw customers. “We have traditionally, of course, focused on our core offering of our burgers. But we think we have upside relative to the category on both appetizers and desserts,” Red Robin SVP and Chief Menu & Marketing Officer Denny Marie Post said during the February analyst call. Looking to capture expanded appetizer business, Red Robin this week has introduced a new tiered pricing approach to starters.
Appetizers are priced at $3, $5, $7 or $9. The $3 tier includes to new items: a Mini Wedge Salad, and Yukon Chips and French Onion Dip. At $5 are the O-Ring Shorty, a smaller version of Red Robin’s onion tower; a half order of new Bar Wings ‘n’ Yukon Chips; and previous faves such as Pretzel Bites. The $7 level has three returning apps, including Chili Chili Con Queso. At $9 come new Saucy Pork Riblets and a full order of Bar Wings ‘n’ Yukon Chips.
Red Robin’s two latest limited-time menu specials have been past favorites: the Chili Chili Cheeseburger and most recently the spicy 5 Alarm Burger.