A&W spokesman Allen issues a sincere ‘Thanks’

Who: A&W and Rethink.

What: A quickly produced, DIY thank you ad featuring the QSR chain’s familiar spokesman, Allen Lulu.

When & Where: The ad went live April 2 on digital and social and will run until April 19, with new creative slated to begin on April 20.

Why: A&W needed some new messaging to replace the planned promotional content already booked to run as the COVID crisis really took hold.

“While it might be instinctual to try and run promotions to increase sales right now, it didn’t feel the right thing to do,” says Chelsea Stoelting, managing director of client services at Rethink in Vancouver. “Their brief specifically noted that we were not to try to push drive-thru or delivery sales at this time. The safety of all Canadians took priority over selling more burgers.”

How: In the spot, Lulu talks directly to the camera, selfie style, delivering a simple thank you message to people including doctors, nurses and first responders to cleaners, grocery store workers and “everyone else staying home to help stop the spread.”

The creative team came up with the idea over a 24-hour period through Zoom meetings, says Stoelting. “Allen filmed himself in his home using his phone and we offered direction remotely over Zoom for framing.”

Quote: “It’s actually been a good challenge for us to be nimble and flexible and overcome new challenges on how to create content right now, safely,” says Stoelting. “As a creative agency, we’re thankful to be keeping our minds busy with work like this in a time of so much uncertainty.”

David Brown