Smashburger mashes with Partners + Napier

Smashburger, a leading fast casual better burger concept with more than 300 locations, has selected integrated creative company Partners + Napier as creative and media agency of record following a competitive review. The announcement comes in advance of Smashburger’s new integrated brand campaign, slated to launch in March 2020.

The agency was selected for its deep food experience and integrated approach to uniting creative and media. Clients span restaurant, cooking/lifestyle, food service, beverage alcohol and more, including fast-growing established brands like CoreLife Eatery, Marlow’s Tavern, Instant Pot, Robert Mondavi Winery, Pyrex and Saputo Dairy Foods.

“The Partners team showed great passion for our brand throughout the process,” said Scott Johnson, Vice President and Head of Marketing, who led the review after joining Smashburger in August 2019. “They clearly understand our category and our customers, and their creative ideas are already driving new growth for our business.”

In its first 30 days, Partners + Napier launched the “Comfort for All” campaign for Smashburger’s new Crispy Chicken Smash, a 70 percent bigger golden fried, cracker-crusted chicken breast. The campaign positioned the Crispy Chicken Smash as the ultimate comfort food — a perfect remedy for life’s uncomfortable moments, like running into a family member on Tinder or attempting to parallel park in front of a crowd.

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“With this campaign, we’re not just owning crispy — we’re owning comfort,” said Rob Kottkamp, Chief Creative Officer at Partners + Napier. “We’re leaning into all the humorous and uncomfortable moments that our target audience experiences on a given day, offering some relief amid the chaos.”

The campaign was activated through online video, display, social media, radio and out-of-home, aiming to reach consumers during moments when they could use a boost of comfort.

It also included a buy-one-get-one promotion on the heels of the nation’s fried chicken sandwich craze, affirming that Smashburger is a welcoming place for everyone, regardless of where you’re from, who you love, or how you identify.

Added Courtney Cotrupe, Chief Executive Officer at Partners + Napier, “In today’s oversaturated fast casual market, building human connections is more critical than ever. We’re so proud to be partnering with Scott and the Smashburger team to strengthen the bonds they have with customers and create a place where people want to return again and again.”

Overall, the effort drove one of the biggest sales weeks in the chain’s history, with double-digit growth on the day of the promotion.