Republic of Chicken blurs line between ad and reality

By Rohit Nautiyal , afaqs!, New Delhi | In OOH News | October 23, 2008
The restaurant chain has used outdoor advertising innovatively to bring more footfalls to its South Extension outlet in Delhi

Bus & #BANNER1 & # shelters are no more the rickety structures they used to be, thanks to the efforts of outdoor media companies, which have transformed them into swanky stainless steel bus queue shelters (BQSes). And brands are smartly cashing in on the advertising on these shelters, with many an interesting - and localised - campaign.

That's the route Republic of Chicken (ROC), a Punjab based chain of restaurants, has taken for its first campaign.

The eatery has chosen a BQS of Delhi Transport Corp. (DTC), located in South Extension I, to advertise the location of one of its restaurants in the vicinity. The top panel of the BQS says, "Advertising and reality have never been this close. Republic of Chicken restaurant right behind this stop."

The inner panel of the BQS carries the same message, minus the first line. The creative also has pictures of two dishes from the ROC menu, while the side panels carry pictures of a rooster.

The campaign has been ideated by McCann Erickson and executed by Parivartan Outdoors, Jindal Steel's outdoor division. The message is an invitation to passers by to visit the restaurant, located on the third floor of a building behind the bus stop.

Tapan SinhaInterestingly, the restaurant was earlier called Red Cap. The company got in touch with McCann, which suggested the new name.

Tapan Sinha, chief executive officer, Republic of Chicken, tells afaqs!, "Right from the moment the chicken comes from our poultry farm, the quality standards are strictly controlled by us. We decided to go with the new name because it conveys the fact that chicken is the most important item on our menu and, therefore, it rules."

The target audience for the restaurant chain and the outdoor campaign includes people in the age group of 10-35 years, who may or may not travel by buses. "The messaging is subtle and it is no more necessary to advertise only for people who use bus shelters. The innovation is meant for anybody who will take a look at the advertisement," says Sinha.

But with the restaurant being so close by and with the presence of a signboard on the building already, will the bus shelter advertisement really add to the visibility of the chain? Sinha says the company has kept the branding on the building very minimal. One can only see pictures of the ROC logo on the building. Therefore, this ad will generate more interest.

As of now, two ROC restaurants are operational in South Extension and Rajouri Garden in Delhi. There are plans to open restaurants in Chandigarh, Jalandhar and the National Capital Region as well as in the Eastern India markets. By the end of November, the chain aims to operate 51 outlets, comprising seven diner (with seating) outlets and 44 deli (without a sitting area) counters.

This is not the first time that a brand has advertised in this manner on bus shelters. In June, afaqs! reported how Windows Live Search customised the BQSes in Mumbai with a similar innovation.

About the efficacy of the campaign, Sinha says, "It's not easy to measure the effectiveness of the campaign yet. Yes, the responses from friends and passers by have been overwhelming. The campaign is meant to hit the viewers and it manages to do so."

The outdoor campaign is supported by radio, standard handout fliers, SMS campaign, below the line activities and food sampling at the restaurants.

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