Buffalo Wild Wings bows CGI buffalo character as part of creative refresh

Buffalo Wild Wings bows CGI buffalo character as part of creative refresh

Dive Brief:

  • Buffalo Wild Wings is trying to freshen up its brand with a new campaign starring a computer-generated buffalo, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
  • “Let’s Go Sports Bar,” the chain’s first work from agency partner Anomaly, centers on Hank, a bison equipped with an impressive set of wings. Voiced by Beck Bennett, Hank takes umbrage with the assumption that he patronizes Buffalo Wild Wings just because he’s a buffalo with wings and not because the restaurant is his preferred place to watch sports and hang out.
  • Ads, including a 30-second spot, rolled out today (Aug. 28) across TV, social and digital audio, while a longer 60-second cut of the creative releases Aug. 31. The launch comes ahead of NFL season kickoff, an occasion for which Buffalo Wild Wings is bringing back its Hot BBQ offerings and introducing a new limited-time Bulleit Bourbon BBQ flavor.

Dive Insight:

Buffalo Wild Wing’s new creative direction summons to mind the phrase “watering hole” in more ways than one thanks to a comedic CGI buffalo character. The campaign represents Anomaly’s first output for the Inspire Brands chain since being appointed creative agency of record in May. Buffalo Wild Wings previously worked with The Martin Agency but has adjusted its marketing strategy after promoting Tristan Meline to CMO in February.

“This campaign is about finding the voice of Buffalo Wild Wings as a way of defining what the brand is all about and the role it plays in our guests’ lives,” said Meline in a statement. “We’re excited about this new creative and the next chapter of the brand partnering with Anomaly LA.”

Special effects and animation for the lifelike Hank were handled by Untold Studios while “Saturday Night Live” alum Beck Bennett lends the furry mascot his rough-around-the-edges but lovable personality. Smuggler provided an assist on the production front.

In the new commercials, Hank ribs the viewer for assumptions they might hold about why he enjoys Buffalo Wild Wings so much, namely that it might be because he is a buffalo with wings in the vein of the QSR’s logo.

“Frankly, that’s offensive and reductionist,” the character says in a direct address to the camera before describing how he actually frequents the chain because of the beer, wings and to carp about games with his friends. Buffalo Wild Wings, commonly referred to as B-Dubs, has long positioned its business around a “wings, beer, sports” hook.

The brand is using the campaign rollout to promote limited-time Hot BBQ and Bulleit Bourbon BBQ flavors. A separate 15-second spot has Hank espouse his love for the bourbon BBQ wings by belting out an off-key tune, much to the chagrin of his fellow restaurant patrons.

Buffalo Wild Wings is ramping up its marketing as it looks to attract more customers in time for football season. Sports bars and eateries are seeking to capitalize on the return of on-premise viewing occasions after a few battering pandemic years.

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