When Having a Reputation Pays Off
When Having a Reputation Pays Off
Joe's Italian Kitchen Ad Campaign Capitalizes on Joe's Moods
By Kathleen McFadden
"If you stand here 10 minutes, my mood is going to change three times," Joe Cafaro, owner of Joe's Italian Kitchen, laughed. "You can watch my mood flip on a dime. Everybody knows I'm moody."
Taking the obvious and making it even more obvious was the idea behind Joe's current ad campaign. Conceived by Joe "Art-Dude" and Amber Smith - friends of Joe's, frequent customers and designers of his Website - the concept didn't strike an immediate chord with Joe. He was skeptical, but Smith continued to pitch the idea and Joe eventually agreed to give it a try.
The first step was taking the pictures. One day, Joe reluctantly - he had work to do - dashed off to Freddy Georgia's studio and she got 45 pictures in 10 minutes. The photo shoot was great fun, Joe said. "We were laughing so hard! She couldn't take the pictures fast enough. I grabbed props and gave her lots of faces," he said. Some of those faces are serious, some are not so serious and some are just a little ominous. Along with the faces, Joe's photo portfolio contains his impersonations of Elton John, Jerry Lewis, and the Soup Nazi.
Joe started the campaign by hanging the "mood" picture of the day on the door of his restaurant.
Then he moved to print advertising and began running his "mood" photos in High Country News and Shout magazine. The message of the ads is that no matter what Joe's mood happens to be, his food is always delicious.
The response has been phenomenal. "I started getting people calling and asking 'What's your mood today?'" Joe said. "It's like taking over. I credit the newspaper for the way it has taken off." Whether at the bank, the doctor's office or the grocery store, Joe said, people - some he knows, some he doesn't - call out to him, "What's your mood today?"
Joe's taking the campaign to the next level with a new television commercial that debuts Thursday, April 27, on Charter Cable and MTN. "If you turn on my commercial, you're going to laugh," he said. The spot features newscaster Ted Cannoli reporting the "breaking news." The commercial was filmed at the restaurant and features, well, it features Joe's moods.
The commercial will air on MTN Morning with Fish, on the High Country Living channel and on Fox, TNT, ESPN, FX and the Comedy Channel on cable.
"We want to get the word out and ask people to watch for it. We want input. How do you like it?" he said.
Joe's Website - www.joesitaliankitchen.com - also features a different mood picture each day, so he's got all the bases covered.
"Joe's has been an evolving story for five years," he said. "The bottom line is that Joe's food is always great. You get a good value for your dollar. It's a real family nook, an old-fashioned kind of place that doesn't exist much anymore."
Joe's recipes are 100 years old, the restaurant will celebrate its fifth anniversary on August 1, and the quality control specialist is Joe's mom. "Dad takes food home and if it doesn't taste like my mother's, I get a phone call," he said. "'Who made the soup?' she asks me."
Joe continued, "We do food the old-fashioned way - we make it."
And although it took some effort initially to sell him on the ad campaign concept, Joe's delighted with it. "I'm so fortunate people see the humor in it," he said. And he wants to know what you think about the new commercial.