Best Advertising Strategy: Main Street Restaurant

Jeff Leighton
Last updated by Jeff Leighton

When you think of Main Street, what images or notions do you conjure up? If you're like most, main street resonates comfort. Familiarity. Home. It doesn't matter if it's a small town or a major city; main street carries the same sentiment. So establishing that part of Main Street Restaurant's identity is easy. There's plenty of comfort, familiarity, and home-like connotation associated with Detroit Lakes' hometown staple. But in that same vein, how do you differentiate yourself when your name is as common as any major thoroughfare in every city across the nation? With radio advertising.


Theater of the Mind

Radio is special because without visuals telling the story for brands who advertise on the airwaves, listeners are left to craft the picture in their heads. Called theater of mind, this radio advertising concept is effective because there's no wrong way to execute it. Every listener can mentally follow the radio ad through to completion, taking different queues and meanings than the next listener does. Main Street Restaurant capitalized on this phenomenon when they created Hazel and Elvira, two spunky characters who have become regulars at the cafe. 

Main Street Restaurant

Think of your Grandma and her best friend, two ladies from the quilting circle at church, or an older neighbor lady you remember fondly from childhood. That's who Hazel and Elvira are ... they embody everyone's specific memory and association in order to tell Main Street Restaurant's story. Who better to welcome you and encourage your visit than two of the most genuine, warm, and highly entertaining ladies? Get ready to fill your bellies ... and get your cheeks pinched.


It's About More Than Food

I've always thought our clients in the food and beverage industry have a tougher job than most when standing out from competition, no matter the market. Every city and town is dotted with wonderful little venues, cafes, watering holes, and establishments. That's why people travel. That's why people road trip. To eat and drink and celebrate fellowship over food. In these instances, food is about more than fuel.

That's what Main Street Restaurant is all about - the more than food part. I checked out the cafe's Facebook page and scanned through all the check-in's and noticed that aside from the now common snaps of food that have taken over social media in the past few years, there were a lot of faces too. People celebrating birthdays, winning games, reunions, Mother's Day, Father's Day, college roommate get-togethers, and typical Tuesday mornings.

People, believe it not, just like Hazel and Elvira drinking good coffee and hearty breakfasts from the comfort of Main Street.


Why Main Street Restaurant is the Best Advertising Strategy 

This submission was entered due to its simplistic effectiveness in telling a branding story. When I asked the owner, Steve, who he can usually find patronizing his restaurant he answered, everyone. Truly this cafe is the place in town that makes sense to everyone. Students. Families. Daters. The retired. Hazel and Elvira are relevant and modern characters who are also very relatable. When Main Street patiently underwent construction, the ladies shared their opinion on that. For over two and half years, these stoic, loyal ladies have kept a pulse on the heartbeat of their beloved town of Detroit Lakes.

Following along with their story means following along on the radio. Main Street Restaurant brands on two of our stations, and runs occassional ads on a third.  Listeners interest is piqued and they can't help but want to make their way to Washington Ave. in Detroit Lakes to get a taste of what Hazel and Elvira just keep talking about.Get Your "Top 9 Best Radio Strategies" eBook Download Here