- Inspire Brands' Buffalo Wild Wings will debut its "Greatest of All Times" campaign today (Sept. 2) with a 60-second spot during the Ohio State-Minnesota college football game on Fox, per a press release. The ad, produced by The Martin Agency, features pro quarterbacks Josh Allen and Kyler Murray and Los Angeles Sparks forward Chiney Ogwumike.
- The sports bar chain will also hold a head-to-head competition at locations in Minneapolis and Columbus, Ohio. Along with two wing-eating challenges, Buffalo Wild Wings partnered with Converge Technology Solutions to use IBM Watson to measure noise levels, tone and keywords at the sports bars with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) technologies to determine a winner.
- The "Greatest of All Times" campaign and experiential activation come as the college football season kicks off, with the NFL season slated to begin on Sept. 9. While the effort highlights in-person dining, the full return of pre-pandemic activities has been complicated by the rise of the coronavirus delta variant.
Buffalo Wild Wings is preparing for what is usually a key time for sports bars — the return of NCAA and NFL football — with its latest campaign. Along with a 60-second spot that will debut during a primetime game, the campaign includes three 15-second ads that highlight its food and beverage offerings, which have been updated to included football-inspired menu items.
While the spots and an in-person activation highlight in-person dining, the chain nods to off-premise options, which will likely continue as the delta variant causes some consumers to halt a return to pre-pandemic activities.
The in-person activation at locations in Minneapolis and Columbus — where the University of Minnesota and Ohio State University are located, respectively — combines traditional and modern elements. Along with a wing-eating contest and hot-wing challenge, head-to-head competitions will be measured and analyzed by Watson Speech to Text, Watson Tone Analyzer and the IBM Cloud. Cheers and roars will lead to a higher score, while groans and muted noise will lower the score, per the press release. Points will be displayed on a scoreboard in each bar, and the winning city of two out of three of the contests will receive a donation to the Buffalo Wild Wings Foundation to support local youth, giving the campaign a charitable, purpose-driven element. This is the first time the AI technology has been used as part of a head-to-head competition between two different sites.
Buffalo Wild Wings has previously used digital technology to enhance and expand its campaign efforts. A multichannel push around the return of the NCAA March Madness tournament included a TikTok challenge that the chain featured on TV screens in its restaurants.
Patel, formerly a vice president at Target leading brand management, joined Buffalo Wild Wings as CMO in August 2020. She oversees advertising, digital innovation, menu development and brand experience for the restaurant chain.