Nando’s ramps up marketing spend to fuel expansion drive

Nando’s is ramping up marketing in the UK to take its youthful positioning, which has inspired cult-like devotion among its customers, to the wider casual dining market.

Early output from the marketing drive, can be seen in ads for the Wing Roulette dish.

The restaurant chain has built its offbeat reputation over the past 10 years through a mix of irreverent PR and social media efforts that have progressively centered on young Britons. The strategy has propelled Nando’s to become one of the leading players in the fast casual dining market, however, more traditional marketing channels will now be used to support its growing presence across the UK, where it now boasts 280 stores.

Nando’s is putting more media weight behind the brand to support is expansion by pairing existing digital efforts with new outdoor and print work. Activity will balance the brand’s quirky tone of voice and its menu with it hoping to capture the sociable energy of what it is like to eat at a Nando’s outlet.

Activity will eschew fast food advertising techniques such as price promotions to ensure its own advertising does not betray the dining experience. To this end, upcoming campaigns will take inspiration from what fans are discussing online to push the brand in a more emotional way.

Andrew Rayner, Nando’s marketing director at Nando’s, told Marketing Week its marketing plans frame an “exciting year” for the brand.

He adds: “We want to celebrate our launches with as many people as possible and have increased our marketing activity to reflect this. We are not moving away from PR and Social activity, as communicating directly with our fans remains at the heart of what we do, but we are exploring other channels.”

Early output from the strategy is shown in this month’s “Wing Roulette” campaign. Nando’s is running print, online and cinema ads for the first time to promote its platter of spicy chicken. Ads, created by 18 Feet and Rising, encourage people to share “finger selfies” on social media, playing on the finger licking habits of diners eating the spicy wings. The outdoor ads are localised to target cinema goers and future campaigns will continue in the same vein.

The investment is further proof the brand is looking to translate strong buzz into increased footfall after revamping its loyalty scheme, in partnership with Kitcatt Nohr Digitas , last year. It replaced its paper-card system with an online programme in order to cultivate more data-driven campaigns and move into new areas. Nando’s is still assessing how best to apply the loyalty data and wants to ensure it has strong foundations in place before moving forward.

The restaurant faces stiff competition from rivals such as Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Wagamama as well from the likes McDonald’s and KFC, who are keen to win back younger diners.