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Advertising & Marketing | AD REVIEWS

Pizza Chain Has Varied Menu of Humor

AD REVIEWS: Ads are rated from $ to $$$$, based on probable effectiveness and tastefulness, with $$$$ being highest.

July 16, 1998|DENISE GELLENE

Advertiser: California Pizza Kitchen

Agency: Colby Effler & Partners, Santa Monica

Challenge: Grab attention of consumers on a low budget.

The Ads: A billboard campaign concentrated mostly in West Los Angeles and the Valley uses offbeat humor to grab consumers' attention. "They prefer you lay off the garlic pizza before your appointment," says a sign above a Western California Dental office. An ad above Holiday Carpet Co. declares, "Unlike their high-pile shag, we doubt our linguine bolognese will ever go out of style." A billboard atop Flair Cleaners says, "Just in case you get any BBQ chicken pizza on your shirt." Each billboard corresponds to the store below it.

Comment: In taking an unconventional approach, California Pizza Kitchen is saying something about itself. Each message gives a hint at the menu, without a hard sell. California Pizza Kitchen spent about $300,000 to place billboards near its restaurants. That's why the ads are clustered in the Valley and West L.A., where many of its 20 Southern California restaurants are located. CEO Fred Hipp said the ads, begun as a test, have helped generate a buzz about CPK, spun off by PepsiCo about a year ago. Few merchants seem to object to the playful ads, though Holiday Carpet manager George LeMaire says the store continues to sell plenty of shag carpet. $$+

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