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See Y’all at Chuy’s: A Case Study

August 1, 2022by Hiebing

Austin is known for an eclectic collection of reasons: It’s one of the only places on the earth where you can find a cathedral of junk, an oasis of breweries and, of course, the world’s best Tex-Mex – and no Texas brand does Tex-Mex better than Chuy’s. Known throughout Texas (and the 16 other states where they operate) for its funkadelic vibe, signature sauces made from scratch and heaven-sent handmade tortillas, Chuy’s feels like the fun, energetic friend who is always party-ready.

So, when they asked us to help them concept and shoot their first-ever TV commercial, joining forces was a no-brainer for Hiebing. True to form, we took on the challenge of telling a compelling story that felt true to their Austin roots and captured the vibrancy and quirkiness that each unique Chuy’s restaurant offers, in thirty seconds or less.

The Challenge

Since 2018, Chuy’s has invested in a collaborative marketing strategy that would reach audiences at meaningful moments as they wrangle with the idea of where their next meal might be. These investments largely prioritized touchpoints like search and social media, with support from OOH & radio spots.

As the brand began to expand their digital footprint, we knew this strategy was missing one key component: video storytelling. To truly bring Chuy’s colorful persona to life, we knew a thirty-second spot would be a fun way to increase sales and familiarize potential guests with what the brand offers. Our objective was to create video assets that offered a compelling creative concept, allowing them to meaningfully show up in video environments in a way that felt authentic to them.

The Strategy

We knew Chuy’s adds color to an ordinary day, and we wanted that to pop in kitschy, unexpected ways. While the food had to be the hero of the video, we chose to spotlight the unique ambiance consumers can experience at Chuy’s while connecting over a meal.

Similar but individualistic décor pieces adorn the walls (and ceilings) of your nearest Chuy’s. With such eccentricity available, we decided to animate a few decorative pieces, like a dog with a hat and a tropical tree, reveling in the unfairness of being watchers on the wall with such delicious Tex-Mex right in front of them – and thus, the idea of Décorversations at Chuy’s was born. We wanted to entice any newcomer to stop by for a quirky experience and keep coming back for the fresh, homemade eats. For loyal fans, we wanted something unexpected and fun that reminded them of why Chuy’s is a go-to in their restaurant rotation.

Capturing the essence of the Austin-born personality was key, but we also knew we had the task of introducing the food style to future guests who might not know what Tex-Mex is. Shot in an open and operating restaurant, the spot featured all fresh dishes, including their fajita plate, their signature Boom- Boom enchiladas and the accompanying freshly squeezed lime margarita – a mouthwatering spread that you could smell through the screen.

To bring this vision to life, we partnered with Austin crews that would capture the weirdness and deliciousness as only a local Tex-Mex fan could. Culminating in a full 30-second spot that could also cut down into 15- and six-second bites, Décorversations ran on YouTube and other social media channels like Facebook and Instagram, in addition to traditional media TV spots that deployed to markets across the U.S. that have a Chuy’s location.

What resulted was a damn cool commercial that made us hungry for Tex-Mex – and the rest of the nation felt the same way.

The Impact

The video itself beat industry benchmarks in view completions, indicating truly engaging creative. With a now hungrier clientele ready for some chips, dip and weirdly cool ambiance, Chuy’s is having a remarkable 2022, reporting a Q2 revenue increase of 2.6% over last year. Comp sales increased 1.7% compared to the same time in 2021, and (very importantly) are still up when compared to pre-pandemic sales during the same window.

TL;DR?

The Possible:
Owning your brand personality in an authentic way can go a long way across touchpoints.

The Proven:
Venturing into previously untouched touchpoints can increase sales and completion rates significantly.

Looking for a partner that captures your brand idea in new and fun ways? Email Dana Arnold at darnold@hiebing.com to set up a call.

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