White Spot taps into history for new TV ads

White Spot Restaurants is emphasizing the guest experience with a print, radio and television campaign that centres on the concept of home, from Vancouver agency me&lewis ideas.

"Founded 83 years ago, the Vancouver-based restaurant chain wanted to celebrate its history while at the same time staying relevant." said Cathy Tostenson, vice-president of marketing and menu development.

“It was all about evolution versus revolution, because at the end of the day our research and our sales show that we are a very strong brand,” said Tostenson. “But there was an opportunity to get our guests to think about White Spot more often, for more reasons and for more occasions.”

The historical approach is a departure from White Spot’s celebrity chef campaign by Wasserman + Partners Advertising that launched in 2005. It featured Chuck Currie, the restaurant’s executive chef, at work with other well known chefs such as Rob Feenie and John Bishop.

Focus group research showed the chef campaign “was really successful in improving our reputation for food quality and menu variety,” said Tostenson. “But the research also confirmed that there was an opportunity for our brand to show our guests using White Spot.”

(The account moved from Wasserman to TBWA\Vancouver in February, shortly before the agency filed for creditor protection. White Spot then moved its account to me&lewis ideas. Media is now handled by Taylor Made Media.)

Focus group participants also kept using words such as “comfort,” “authentic,” “real,” “history,” “familiar;” with “home” coming up so many times that it became a natural focus for the campaign.

Two new television spots kick off with a nod to White Spot founder and local celebrity Nat Bailey. One ad focuses on families while the other is more adult oriented.

“I don’t think I’ve ever known a brand to have more familiarity with consumers than White Spot,” said Jeff Lewis, partner and creative director at me&lewis. “People are not only passionate about the restaurant, but they have a sense of ownership. It’s their restaurant, they’ve grown up with it, and they have their own White Spot stories to tell.”