Chains Skip Super Bowl Advertising; Chang Takes Lucky Peach to iPad, Print


Phew! And we’re back to news…

Prior to Green Bay’s well-played win at Sunday’s Super Bowl XLV, Nation’s Restaurant News reported that while spots in last year’s advertising lineup were popular with some heavier hitters in food service, none of the usual suspects bought space for this year’s Super Bowl. In an article late last week, it was a notable change to from last year’s advertisers that included national food brands like Papa John’s, Denny’s, and Taco Bell, with this year’s $3M-per-30-second bottom line detouring many. Pizza delivery chain Papa John’s chose to run commercials before kickoff, with online deals running during the game. Others, like Buffalo Wild Wings, decided on a season-long campaign rather than one blowout during the year’s big game.

“Football season really is a six- to seven-month program for us, and the Super Bowl is the culmination of that,” [Paul Weitzel, director of marketing and brand development] said. “We try to allocate our dollars throughout that season, realizing that football is such a significant piece of our business. We want to make sure we’re getting people in here throughout and not just on one day.”

Some smaller chain restaurants went the social media route, promoting online instead of on-air.

“Everybody is interacting so much [via social media] during any major sporting event, and we’re going to be more vocal than usual,” [Fred Kirvan, president of nine-unit fast-casual chain Desert Moon Fresh Mexican Grill] said.

I know I’m late on this, but I had to mention how ecstatic I am to see that Momofuku chef David Chang will soon be releasing an iPad app and quarterly print journal named Lucky Peach. Since I’m not quite on the iPad boat, I am much looking forward to the full-color print version of Lucky Peach, which will be published by McSweeney’s. Co-author of the Momofuku cookbook, Peter Meehan, will be Chang’s co-pilot for the project, with the print edition including “fairly random” contributions as well as interviews with well-knowns, like chef comrades Wylie Dufresne and Anthony Bourdain.

The first quarterly edition, which comes out in late April, will be ramen-focused with an interactive bowl from Momofuku Noodle Bar that will unleash “35 videos, 50 recipes, graphics, and other elements.”

“We thought the ramen was the best thing to start with,” he said. “Within that soup there’s so many things. We wanted to see how far we could go down that rabbit hole.”

Not only am I anxiously anticipating the first issue, I’m curious how the print edition will fare during the current downturn of the publishing world.

Can’t wait to check it out.

On Wednesday, guest writer Brandon Wise delivers the first Short Buzz of the year, offering up some insight into finding fame and fortune as a mixologist. Next week, we’ll feature another exclusive interview, this time with the most recent addition to Iron Chef America, New York chef Marc Forgione. Just enough of a little bite to get you warmed up for the month’s end coverage of the Food Network’s South Beach Wine & Food Festival in Miami!

~Jennifer Heigl

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