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RADIO ADVERTISING CASE STUDY: How To Get A New Restaurant Fully Booked Before It Even Opens

As promised, this video was available here for only a short time. Now it can be seen only in the Radio Advertising Advantage private member site.

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  • Rick February 24, 2011, 4:46 am

    Dan ,

    As always, very interesting and enlightening. As Program Director, without a Production Director, I have been tough on our relatively inexperienced sales force regarding copy. The one subject I am always going on about is “The Benefit to the listener” Having heard this spot and the story behind it, it is clear that there are exceptions. The spot did not seem to overtly indicate a benefit yet still managed to be compelling. Thanks for the lesson.

  • Matt Forrest February 24, 2011, 5:32 am

    Good video, Dan! Reminds me of a serie of commercials we ran several years back for an Italian place operated by a guy from Sicily. I interviewed him about his love of Italian cuisine, but not specifically about his place – and let his knowledge and personality do the selling. He mentioned unusual things like the fact that his restaurant didn’t serve marinara sauce because, he said, if you were to go to Italy, they may very well not know what you’re talking about. He spoke of the history of puttanesca sauce, and how (in a radio-friendly way) it got its name. These commercials made him somewhat of a friendly approachable ‘expert,’ and really helped image his restaurant as TRUE Italian cuisine.

  • Alice Schulte February 24, 2011, 6:40 am

    I find these short videos very interesting and very easy to take advantage of great advertising ideas. The question about “are you from Aftan” was a very effective way to handle an “Authentic” atmosphere.

  • Warren February 24, 2011, 7:02 am

    I write a LOT of restaurant commrecials, so I found this really interesting. I agree with you on not using the word “authentic,” but my objection stems from the fact that every ethnic restaurateur I speak with claims his restaurant is “authentic.” And the fact is that most ethnic restaurants, regardless of the chef’s origins, have been pretty Americanized. I also try to avoid using voices with a heavy accent as part of a commercial. I think he got away with it on this one because it’s a short spot, and the chef is only heard for a few seconds. I’ve heard some commercials where the speaker drones on and on for the better part of a minute in an accent that is barely understandable. Other than that, very informative, and it gave me some things to think about.

  • Anonymous February 24, 2011, 7:18 am

    This was a great spot! One thing I like about it is that after the first time I hear it, I won’t necessarily pick up the name of the restaurant, or the details, but I, as a regular listener, will pick up that I just heard something different and interesting, something with a French guy. Then, the next time I’m alone in the car and the spot comes on, I’m going to want to listen more to see what it was all about. The spot has interest, and it sticks in my mind during the first impression just enough to make me want to hear it again and get the details.

  • Mike Irvin February 24, 2011, 7:34 am

    It’s interesting that the focus was on dessert, instead of the main courses available. A lemon tart, or crepes can be had at any of the other French restaurants in the area, so the only thing that saved it was the chef’s distinct accent. A bold choice that proved successful. The tag said ‘reservations available’ which didn’t exactly point out that the bistro accepted reservations only. I’m sure that there are some listeners that would interpret it as still a walk-up situation, so a little clarity would be better.

  • Pat Montague February 24, 2011, 7:37 am

    The little things we know, but are so easy to forget in the midst of meeting a deadline…thanks Dan!

  • Tim Burt February 24, 2011, 8:08 am

    @Mike – this was one of two spots that I did for them…the one Dan chose to play happened to be the \dessert\ spot. The other one is more generic – the Chef didn’t talk about specific foods, but focused on the aura and background of French cooking.

    Thank you for your compliments! I greatly appreciate it.

  • Sheryl February 24, 2011, 8:13 am

    I enjoy listening to your conversations with clients. They are relaxed and real but insightful, as you always manage to solve a problem. The french restaurant commercial was great because it set an atmosphere and we all know emotion sells.

  • J.P. February 24, 2011, 8:35 am

    Plain and simple: good story-telling sells!

  • Steve February 24, 2011, 9:20 am

    Dan, all the videos this week have been making me think how they may relate to a current or a future client well after the video is over. Many of my advertisers would rather have their ads read with the creativity of the Community Access TV Bulletin Board. So thank you, for the tangible evidence that focusing on one idea and not wasting time on unmemorable phone numbers can work for people.

  • Marc February 24, 2011, 10:11 am

    Meh. Female voices screams snob, and sex. Accents are a dime-a-dozen so the chef talking kind of comes off humorous. Average commercial, High cheese.

  • Robert Mogley February 24, 2011, 10:30 am


    You were able to do so much with so little time. Bravo. Excellent spot. Classy and Informative with a touch of Whimsy. I think anyone who hears this spot will not only remember it but head to the website and check it out. Eric the Chef was great – and the female vocal had a nice touch too. I liked it better than CATS!

  • Dan O'Day February 24, 2011, 10:41 am

    @Rick: In this case, the listener benefit was implied but not stated. If you enjoy French cooking, then the benefit is the “authentic” (thankfully, the word wasn’t used) French cuisine at this new restaurant that’s just opened up.

  • Cristy Kuntz February 24, 2011, 10:53 am

    I love the boldness of the commercials! I wasn’t crazy about the tag or the voice on the tag… But that’s just my personal preference… The whole Ad champagne is so well put together. I think sometime the simple things slip right through. Just focusing on the true experience the client provides is so simple …

    I think I learn or find a little something from Every Video!

  • steve murry February 24, 2011, 11:01 am

    thanks great info

  • Dale Percy February 24, 2011, 4:23 pm

    Interesting concept. Playing on the accent works in this case, but I think the same theory could be applied to many types of restaurants — or any business — really. The key I hear in this commercial is the passion of the chef for what he does, and that can be said for any chef, jeweler, music store owner, auto mechanic, or whomever — as long as they truly care about their customers and craft. Dan, I don’t know if you remember my comment on Tuesday’s video about “narration”, but I mentioned I have a challenge with a client who has a very thick French accent. I now know what you meant by: “stay tuned”, but my guy is not a chef … he’s a roofer. But in the 1/2 hour conversation we recorded yesterday, I got a better sense for what he does, why he started his own business, and his passion to bring some honesty into an industry full of shady characters. I hope to bring that across to the public.

  • Ken February 24, 2011, 8:13 pm

    Haha – Bananas Foster…so French!

  • John February 24, 2011, 9:13 pm

    Accents are only “a-dime-a-dozen” if they’re not real. The authentication at the end solves that nicely.

  • Celeste K February 24, 2011, 9:40 pm

    LOVED IT!!! There was some psychology throughout (as mentioned in the conversation before the spot) but the average listener wouldn’t pick up on that. The spot sold on emotion – the emotion of a desire for something really nice – something only a \sexy\ french restaurant could provide. Perfect example of \show, don’t tell\ and made me remember why radio can be so effective. People can critique it all they want – the proof it worked was in the full tables at the restaurant opening. Great job and keep ’em coming.

  • Chuck Schwartz February 25, 2011, 6:47 am

    Great job as always Dan, in getting pertinent information across in a compelling way. Always enjoy learning from you.

  • French Restaurant story February 28, 2011, 11:58 am

    Now THAT’S Story-telling of the most effective kind! No one has the passion for their own business like the owners. Devising a simple interview for an owner who exudes such passion, is pure joy, especially when they let you direct the positioning of the spot. …and the bit about Afton getting HIM to say where he is from was brilliant stuff. I’ll be applying this to our next tough restaurant assignment! Thanks Dan!
    – JT Austin


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