Mr Gatti’s Pizza , a 50 year-old Family Entertainment Center company based in Ft. Worth, Texas, just released their first commercial in three years, as they work to bring all locations under one concept and return to their roots of pizza, games, and parties. Additionally, they just re-branded their name from Gatti’s Pizza back to its original name Mr Gatti’s. Next year, the company will celebrate their 50th Anniversary.
The new pizza commercial will run in several markets across the south including the DFW area for six weeks, with digital and online support.
Mr Gatti’s was also recently named a leading player in the rapidly growing global family and indoor entertainment center market. A report from Future Markets Insights estimates the family entertainment center market will expand at 13.3%, with revenue growth escalating from $17.5 million in 2017 to $61 million in 2027.
We caught up with Colin Berry, Director of Marketing for Mr Gatti’s and chatted about why they changed their name back, the cool way they shot their new TV spot and what’s upcoming on their marketing agenda.
Check it out…
AdChat DFW: How long has it been since Mr Gatti’s has produced a TV spot?
Colin: The last time we did a spot was about three years ago, so we thought it was important for a refresh of the brand and to be able to provide something new for our franchisees to use in their local markets. We really wanted to play up what our legacy is which is pizza, games and parties.
AdChat DFW: Are you are rebranding?
Colin: Yes, we’ve had various iterations of the brand over the past 50 years and for the past seven or eight years we’ve been just Gatti’s. But we felt our namesake is Mr Gatti’s and in the local communities we serve, that “Mr” really means something, so we wanted to get back to that.
AdChat DFW: The tagline of Pizza. Games. Parties. is the prominent idea in the spot, how did you conceptualize it?
Colin: Our restaurants are not just food and games. Parties are a big part of who we are, serving the local community with birthday parties and different fundraising events. But at the end of the day we are food first. We really wanted to play up that fresh quality ingredients aspect of it and tie in games and parties. It’s a nod to our legacy when we opened our doors for the first time almost 50 years ago.
AdChat DFW: Do you compete against Dave & Busters?
Colin: They are not direct competition, but certainly are in the realm of consumer thinking. We are really defined within that six to sixteen age range and we’re happy about that because that’s a unique demographic. Some of our other competition caters to a much younger age, and then there are the Dave & Busters of the world who cater to an older audience and serve up with a little bit of a higher price point and different experience. We really have a niche that we’ve defined, especially in those smaller markets that we are in. We can serve the six to sixteen- year-olds and their families and make sure we’re providing a great experience with our famous pizza, pasta and salad buffet, plus an expansive game room for the whole family. Then by layering on 50 years of providing amazing parties, we’ve really got something that the entire family can enjoy together.
AdChat DFW: Do you do much of your creative in-house?
Colin: We have a pretty small marketing team and for the most part we concept everything in-house and then depending on what the tactic is, this being a TV aspect, we partnered with a production studio, Noonday Pictures and a post-production house, Post Asylum/Element X.
AdChat DFW: Why did you go with Noonday?
Colin: They actually came highly recommended by Kevin Paetzel and Post Asylum/Element X, who we partnered with concepting this spot. Over the past nine years I’ve been doing this, Kevin and I have connected on a few different projects. The unique thing about us is that we don’t have a big ad agency, so our dollars need to spend more nimbly and effectively so that we’re really supporting the business needs of our franchisees. Kevin, who has been a creative director with many top agencies recommended Post-Asylum for the post-production, and they brought in Noonday. That’s how the relationship blossomed.
AdChat DFW: Did Kevin help you with the concept of building game visuals with pizza toppings?
Colin: Yes, we needed an idea, and he did the storyboard and all the copy for it. And then we put it to life from there. We had this cool concept where we want to show pizza being created in steps to play up the fresh quality ingredients that go into all of our products. But then we needed to incorporate the gaming aspect. So, rather than just showing pizza and then showing games we brought the two together building gaming characters that come to life and react in a flash across the screen.
AdChat DFW: How was your experience with Noonday?
Colin: Great! What I’ve learned over the years is you hire people to do this stuff because they know what they’re doing. Giving them creative freedom, and as long as it’s in the realm of what you’re trying to get across to your consumer, it really works. At Noonday, they know what they’re doing and that clearly came across in this spot.
Josh Blaylock, Director at Noonday Pictures, added, “Working with Graham and Colin is always such a blast and a wonderful creative process. But being able to combine my first love of still photography with directing motion as well, really just melded my two worlds into one and made this an overall a pleasure to work on.”
AdChat DFW: What process did they use to shoot it?
Colin: We were able to use stop animation, which is really old school, but did it in a new school way. It was really cool to see the process and the details that went into the spot. They just ran with it from the second we came to them, which was really nice. It was their playground as long as it was shot within our brand guidelines. We shot the toppings by themselves, and in post, turned them into the animation that made them interact with the other toppings to build a Pac Man, race car and basketball game.
AdChat DFW: Where and how did you edit the spot?
Colin: Post Asylum/Element X. They told Noonday exactly what they needed whether it was a pepperoni shot or a mushroom shot, so they could control it on the post end side. The toppings were shot completely separate from the rest of the pizza. I mean literally we took a dough ball moved it an inch. Then you take a photo, you move it another inch, and take another photo. Same thing with the sauce and then the cheese. There is a time lapse video of a pizza baking that’s fifteen minutes compressed into five seconds. There were a lot of different elements brought to life in this 30 second spot.
Graham Hagood, Managing Director/Executive Producer at Post Asylum/ Element X added, “As soon as Kevin approached us with this idea, we dove into look development and creative execution options under the leadership ECD, Chad Briggs. Our animation team had a blast “scouting” pizza and games at Mr Gatti’s!
During storyboard development, we experimented with different approaches for achieving the authentic stop motion look Colin and Kevin were after. Ultimately, we chose to bring in the awesome resources of Noonday Pictures and Director Josh Blaylock to film the dough, ingredients and baking time-lapse shot all in one day. Our animation team completed 90% of the stop motion animation in post to blend seamlessly with the stop motion work Josh did in camera. See if you can tell them apart.
Pure Evil Music Senior Composer, Gary Parks, worked with Kevin to bring this spot to life with all the video game sound design.”
AdChat DFW: Have you shot spots like this before?
Colin:Before it was like, let’s shoot one for games and have a family playing games and then let’s shoot one for the buffet showing a giant buffet and families eating food. But we’ve never really done one that brings pizza, games and parties all together into the same place.
AdChat DFW: What’s up next for Mr Gatti’s?
Colin: We’re celebrating our 50th anniversary next September so stay tuned for exciting surprises from Mr Gatti’s then.
Creative Director / Writer – Kevin Paetzel
Post Asylum / Element X
Producer – Katie Vance
ECD – Chad Briggs
Editor – Joe Flores
Music and Sound Design – Gary Parks, Pure Evil Music
Director – Josh Blaylock