Shine United and HuHot Mongolian Grill Launch New Campaign Aimed to “Conquer Bland”

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Creative highlights diners’ ability to customize each meal to their taste

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Shine’s rigorous, data-driven approach to creating this campaign has helped give the HuHot brand the tools to truly move the needle.

Shine United, a Madison, Wisconsin-based advertising and digital agency, has repositioned HuHot Mongolian Grill with a bold, new integrated campaign. As the casual dining category faces a challenging economy, HuHot tasked Shine United with a brand refresh aimed to break through and steal share from competitors.

Shine United’s creative platform was driven by consumer research that identified the ability to customize meals as a key driver in choosing a place to eat. HuHot Mongolian Grill is a standout in its category for offering customization, giving customers full control of their ingredient choices. Guided by this insight, Shine United created an integrated campaign that focuses on the franchise’s endless customizable meal options.

The new campaign features the brand mantra “Conquer Bland,” challenging diners to take control of their meal by customizing the flavor they want. The in-store posters serve as a battle cry, with headlines such as “Beating Bland by the Bowlful,” “If You Want to Thank the Chef, There is a Mirror in the Bathroom,” and “Prepare to be Bowl Envied.” Each poster features mouth-watering photography of the custom creations available crowned with headlines that reflect the fun and irreverent personality of the brand.

The full campaign includes in-store posters, animated social media advertising, and radio spots, each presenting HuHot Mongolian Grill as the franchise that gives diners the power to control flavor and create the exact meal they desire.

“The creative look and tone to this campaign is bold and spontaneous,” said John Krull, owner and creative director at Shine United. “The design, copy, and photography work together to capture the energy and spirit of the HuHot Mongolian Grill dining experience.”

Facebook posts feature standard casual dining fare being conquered by Mongolian-style weaponry, such as a hamburger bleeding ketchup after being skewered with a Medieval dagger, a bucket of chicken shot with a quiver of arrows, and a deep-dish pizza pummeled with a Mongolian axe. Radio adds more fun to the mix by conjuring up clever situations such as a wedding reception where the maid of honor’s plans of toasting her boring brother-in-law, “Blandrew,” are nixed when she discovers how exciting his meal creations are at HuHot Mongolian Grill.

“Shine’s rigorous, data-driven approach to creating this campaign has helped give the HuHot brand the tools to truly move the needle,” said Stephanie Krause, VP of Marketing. “The creative does an excellent job of highlighting the consumer advantage of dining customization when visiting HuHot Mongolian Grill.”

About HuHot Mongolian Grill

HuHot is a national create-your-own stir fry concept offering a wide variety of meats, seafood, noodles, fresh veggies, and signature sauces to suit individual tastes. Customers select their favorite ingredients and then are entertained as their meal is cooked to perfection by grill warriors on a 6-foot scorching hot grill. It's always all-you-can-eat, so a different meal can be created every time.

HuHot Mongolian Grill, LLC, opened its first restaurant in Missoula, Montana, in 1999, focusing on fresh food, signature sauces, and great service. Over the past 15 years, the concept has grown to 59 locations in 16 states, and that focus has remained unchanged.

In 2015, HuHot was ranked for the fourth consecutive year in Franchise 500 by Entrepreneur and on Technomic's Top 500 Chain Restaurant Report. HuHot has been ranked as one of Franchise Times’ Next 300 Franchise Chains three years in a row, and named as one of Nation’s Restaurant News' Next 20 Chains of 2014.

About Shine United

Shine United is a $41 million advertising and brand consultancy located in Madison, Wisconsin. The privately held company's client roster includes national brands such as Harley-Davidson, Wisconsin Cheese, GORE-TEX® Running Footwear, Amazon.com, Mizuno Running, Kohler Co., and LaCrosse Footwear. Shine is an environment where creativity, brilliance, and teamwork are allowed to flourish – part of the reason the agency was named one of the best places to work by Outside Magazine the past three years. Learn more at ShineUnited.com. Shine On.

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