Lion's Choice

Lion’s Choice has been serving up the freshest roast beef sandwiches in St. Louis since the ‘60s. But in a rapidly changing fast casual dining category and declining awareness among younger audiences, the brand had lost its bite. That’s when UPBrand was selected to come in as agency of record and lead a new chapter for this St. Louis icon. 

Discovery

For years, the Lion’s Choice team leaned heavily on anecdotal research: store visits, customer interactions and their own experiences. But before we made any rash decisions on this beloved brand, we needed to get hard data on what people really thought about it. 

We led a series of AI-enabled group discussions and surveys with Lion’s Choice target audiences. We learned that while older customers considered Lion’s Choice to be their top choice, that loyalty and awareness wasn’t translating to newer generations. Worse, the brand was ranking low in perception for the things Lion’s Choice prides itself on, like quality and service. 

It was time for Lion’s Choice to find its roar and tell its story in a bold, confident way.

Brand Platform 

We created a new brand platform for Lion’s Choice, one built on quality and delivered with attitude. At its heart was a new tagline: Killer Beef Sandwiches. For years, when people saw Lion’s Choice, they asked two questions: what does the name mean and what do they serve? Our tagline answers both with an in-your-face confidence that could only come from the king of the jungle.

Digital Campaign 

Our work with Lion’s Choice started with a bit of urgency: sales were down across the chain and they needed help — fast. And even though we were still in Discovery, we got scrappy and got to work. 

We planned a digital campaign designed to increase store traffic with a limited time offer. And since time was against us, we went digital. In just a few days, we had ads up and running on search and social — ready to capture hungry eyes at key meal times. Our campaign had strong results and offered a much-needed lift in sales across the board.

 

21.7%

increase in website sessions

26.6%

increase in total visitors

Photography

There’s no secret ingredient to food marketing: it’s all in the photography. And between social calendars, emails and digital ads, you can never have enough of it. So to keep production costs down and efficiency high, we executed the majority of Lion’s Choice photography in-house. That allowed us to move more quickly in keeping up with new demands across their marketing mix.

The Remix 

The original roast beef sandwich from Lion’s Choice was a staple: slow-roasted beef, shaved thin and piled high on a bun. A great sandwich, sure, but maybe not everyone’s choice. Lion’s Choice wanted to make a big play on customization — they are the Lion’s Choice, after all — and they had just the sandwich to do it. It just needed a name. 

The sandwich was that killer roast beef, swiss cheese and garlic aioli served on Texas Toast. In many ways, it was the exact opposite of the original. A new spin on an old favorite. A Remix. Bingo.

The Remix was Lion’s Choice first new permanent menu item in years, so it deserved some promo. We teased the announcement with glitchy textures and a cryptic reboot message that got plenty of attention from loyal fans. 

Post-launch, we kept the hype going with a omni-channel campaign that was carefully strategized to maximize the client’s budget and gain traction in a market flooded with competitors with bigger media spend. Our creative included spots CTV and local radio that made our message loud and clear: this ain’t your grandpa’s roast beef sandwich.

And the results? One look says our early research was right: People were hungry to see something new from Lion’s Choice.

  • This launch helped reverse the negative sales trend in the STL market.
  • Overnight, the ‘add an ounce’ sales increased 15x.
  • In the first 30+ days, the Remix accounted for almost 16% of sales.