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Rumor - Bob Evans Restaurants completes creative review?
Subject: TV, digital, online, social media, shopper, outdoor
Company: Bob Evans Farms, Inc., food-service, processing and retail company that serves consumers throughout the US. Bob Evans Restaurants operates 549 restaurants in 19 states, mostly in the Midwest, mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
Update (9/21): In the Bob Evans' update posted earlier this month, we failed to mention that the chain worked with we locate the Mystery Machine.
Update (9/6): Everything old really is new again. To this end, Bob Evans Farms is bringing back its "Down on the farm" jingle - last present in marketing in the mid-1990s (the jingle was created in 1961). Desperate times call for desperate measures, I suppose.
During last week's Q1 2017 earnings call, Mark Hood mentioned that breakfast continues to outperform lunch and dinner and, in fact, 52% of all transactions include a breakfast entree. Therefore, focus will shift to upgrading lunch and dinner menu items, using the company's approach to breakfast as a blueprint. The menu changes, which rolled out nationwide last week, were tested in Toledo for eight months, and according to CEO Saed Mohseni, brought in "younger guests and lighter users." This, he added, is "critical" as the company focuses on attracting new customers to BEF's brands while providing core guests with the dining experience they have come to expect.
Moving forward, BEF's message will be balanced across traditional and digital platforms, and is anchored in "value and hospitality." BEF has also redefined its direct mail efforts, and will be relying heavily on this channel to market the new menu changes. Basically, BEF's marketing continues to evolve and is focused on simplicity, value and integrity. In fact, according to SVP of business development and consumer marketing Chris Lambix: "Most brands are trying to establish their authenticity and some have questionable authenticity. Ours is unquestionable. We were started by a real guy on a farm."
Also according to iSpot, BEF began re-running older national TV spots that tout its frozen food division (see chart for show targeting). National TV does not really make sense for the restaurant division, as a majority of locations are situated within its home state of Ohio. However, BEF is running a spot for LTO turkey dinner promotion. This spot was created by MMB Boston.
Meredith Xcelerated Marketing (MXM) has only been digital AOR for a year-and-a-half, the new decision maker (more info below) will likely review all relationships.
Read more about Bob Evans Restaurants' marketing plans and new CMO below:
Below was originally published 8/19:
Opportunity: Named Sara Bittorf as SVP and CMO. Bittorf most recently served as founder and principal for Big Idea Supply and Provisions. During her time with Big Idea, she helped create menu strategy for Bob Evans Restaurants. Prior to that, she served as SVP and chief brand officer of Boston Market. She also served as VP of marketing for Carrabba's for just over three years. During her tenure at Boston Market, Bittorf appeared on Undercover Boss and even fired someone on the spot, so maybe she's just the woman to whip Bob Evans into shape.
Media recently moved to Meredith Xcelerated Marketing (MXM) has only been digital AOR for a year-and-a-half, a new decision maker will likely review all relationships. This is especially true as Bob Evans looks to turnaround its packaged food and restaurant businesses.
According to Pathmatics, Bob Evans Farms has spent $5,100 on seven desktop display ads this year (1.5 million impressions). BEF has also run six mobile ads and four video ads, which also garnered around 1.5 million impressions. While all of the video ads were placed site direct (on sites such as cbslocal.com and espn.go.com), only 33% of the desktop ads were placed this way. The remainder were placed using ad networks Nexage and Magnetic. Top destinations for Bob Evans' desktop ads included: myanimelist.net, yahoo.com and washingtonpost.com.
Read more about Bob Evans Restaurants' marketing plans below .
Below was originally published on 6/16:
Opportunity: During the company's Q4 earnings call, (relatively) new CEO Saed Mohseni said that one objective for fiscal 2017 is to restore Bob Evans Restaurants brand relevance. This, he said, will be achieved through four key initiatives: (1) the configuration of its menu and price value equation; (2) selecting the food quality upgrade; (3) marketing that emphasizes value at everyday part and "most importantly" (4) restoring hospitality as a differentiator.
Mohseni said that the most important initiative is the hospitality and guest connection component. This is why Bob Evans' current TV ads focus on the hospitality and heritage as much as it focuses on the value message of all-day breakfast. Additionally, Bob Evans' will launch more marketing in August to support its menu redesign. Part of this redesign includes reducing the number of seasonal menu changes to five from seven, which Mohseni said will allow marketing teams to better develop and promote each offering.
Sellers - this means you should look for dollars around seasonal changes (e.g. Bob Evans' is currently running summer, strawberry season and bacon promotions). Keep in mind that over the course of the last year, Bob Evans announced it was "reinvesting in marketing to reverse declines. Look for digital, TV, print and OOH dollars as the company begins its turnaround. Specifically, Mohseni said Bob Evan's message will be "balanced" across both traditional and digital platforms.
Bob Evans named Horizon.
Sustained Struggles: In the last year, Sandell Asset Management, which owns nearly 10% of Bob Evans’ shares, has advocated separating the company’s restaurant and prepackaged food divisions. Mohseni as not stated if he supports this move or not.
Addiitonally, Bob Evans closed 21 underperforming locations in fiscal 2016 and expects to close seven more in fiscal 2017, per a recent 8-K.
Media Spend: For the nine months ended January 22 (through fiscal 2016 Q3), Bob Evans spent $28.3 million on advertising - up from $26.4 million for the comparable period is fiscal 2015. Note that around 80% of the company's spend is alllocated to Bob Evans Restaurant ads (around $22 million last year).
Digital Breakdown: Moat reports that Bob Evans has run nine display ads on 21 publishers since January (62% mobile). Top ad destinations include ohiostatebuckeyes.com, wfmj.com, elevenwarriors.com and lifescript.com (64% placed site direct versus programmatically). The company has also run five high impact ads (on ESPN and CBS - Chicago). Note that this display ad data includes both the restaurant division and packaged food ads.
For the same period in 2015, the company ran only one display ad on one publisher.
Bob Evans, Inc.
8111 Smithsmill Rd.
New Albany, OH 43054
Senior Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer
Vice President, Brand Marketing
Senior Marketing Manager