Sunday, July 9, 2017

118. KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS: “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Goodness” Campaign, 1998

“Don’t forget the muffins!”
Who can forget that line delivered in a tiny, squeaky voice by a hunky male talent at the end of a 1997 KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS commercial? The dissonance in the character and his voice proved to be so memorable that the KENNY ROGERS commercial was soon being spoofed on TB gag shows,  even as a horde of customers began flocking the newest chicken restaurant in town.

Source; wikimediacommons,
The concept of a chicken restaurant was not new back in the country back in the mid 1990s. KFC, the former Kentucky Fried Chicken, was already a dominant fastfood chain serving various chicken products. Enter KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS . Established in 1991 by country musician—and foodie-- Kenny Rogers, in partnership with John Y. Brown, and Kenny Rogers, it first opened its first branch in Coral Springs, Florida.

Just a mere four years later, Roasters Philippines Inc. brought the KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS to Manila. Roasters Phils., was founded by the enterprising Bernardine Sy, whose family was also behind successful consumer brands like Jag Jeans, Lee Jeans, Marie France. She expanded their business portfolio to include food—hence she ventured into franchising, acquired KENNY ROGERS and opened the first outlet at Alabang Town Center on 28 March 1995 to great acclaim.

Two years after, its first drive-thru restaurant opened in Lipa. Filipino customers took to enjoying roasted chicken (as opposed to fired) that they heartily ate along with side dishes, salads, pastas---and of course, the best-selling muffins.  

When it came to pushing KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS with advertising, the brand’s imported image came into play—and the first print ads showed slick product shots straight from an American magazine. If there was a barrier that needed to be broken, it was the high class image that the brand projected that needed fixing. After all, such an “uppity” image can be alienating.

By 1997, powerhouse agency Jimenez DMB&B was getting ready for the impending loss of KFC which it had been handling for over 2 years, due to managerial changes in the company. At that time, Jimenez DMB&B had been handling another Sy business—JAG Jeans—which was performing very well in the fashion market, thanks to the agency’s award-winning campaigns. The agency had long wanted the KENNY ROGERS account, but contractual obligations forbade it to handle conflicting accounts. KFC’s loss paved the way for the eventual addition of KENNY ROGERS to Jimenez DMB&B’s client list.


The first KENNY ROGERS ("Pila" TVC 30s) commercial produced by the agency addressed the image problem of the store by coming up with the “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Goodness” campaign. To show how accessible KENNY ROGERS is, the creative team headed by Raoul Panes and Poch Guevara came up with the idea of having “unseen people watchers”, observing the comings-and-goings inside a friendly KENNY ROGERS restaurant. Through this  peepshow approach, we see how the KENNY ROGERS crowd actually come from all walks of life, ordinary people like you and me—but with extraordinary taste for all that is good, that gives value for their money and that prices great eating experience.


Much of the charm of the commercial, directed by ace Vitt Romero,  relies on the lively, chatty voice-overs of the unseen voyeurs. They were, in fact, provided by the agency creative themselves, led by the Creative Director Raoul Panes, and Jim Battad, an art director. The one voice that stood out for was that of the good-looking hunk at the end, high-pitched and squeaky. It was voiced by Lilit Trinidad, also a creative writer of Jimenez DMB&B.

The new commercials were very well-received and Jimenez DMB&B would go on to produce a follow-up "Ganado" commercial using the same format. It would also keep KENNY ROGERS ROASTERS longer than KFC, which to this day, continues to offer its signature roasted dishes, cooked  on cooked together with the freshest ingredients in all their over 50 Kenny’s stores all over the Philippines.

ART DIRECTOR: Poch Guevara
PRODUCER: Paul Suarez
VOICE-OVERS: Lilit Trinidad, Jim Battad, Raoul Panes
DIRECTOR: Vittorio Romero


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