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A tingling feeling at Modern Acupuncture


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This Modern Acupuncture ad says “Be a Zen Goddess” with the tagline “Let’s Tingle.”

If Matt Hale has that tingly feeling, it’s likely because the CEO of Modern Acupuncture has just launched a consumer-facing ad campaign called “Let’s Tingle” that punches far above the young franchise’s weight class. It debuted in October on Microsoft’s Digital Cube in Times Square, with photos by famous Swedish photographer Henrik Halvarsson, known for his work with H&M, and with creative by Scott Goodson’s agency StrawberryFrog. “They launched Viagra back in the day,” Hale said about StrawberryFrog and Goodson. A Modern Acupuncture  franchisee was an acquaintance of Goodson, and he came to visit Hale & Co. in headquarters in Scottsdale, Arizona. “He said, ‘Guys, this could be huge.’ He went through his treatment and said, ‘It’s a tingling feeling. It’s like turning my body back on,’” and an ad campaign was eventually born, but not before figuring out how to pay for such a big fish. “We got very creative, and we figured out how to give Scott some equity,” a minority stake in Modern Acupuncture, Hale said. The new campaign has striking images with headlines like “My Beautiful” and the tagline “Let’s Tingle.”


Round One for RMH

A main point of contention in the bankruptcy case of RMH Franchise Holdings, Applebee’s second largest franchisee, is whether their franchise agreements were terminated prior to a bankruptcy filing. Dine Global Brands, Applebee’s parent, filed a lawsuit against RMH arguing they’d already terminated the franchise agreements in two states and were entitled to take them over. RMH, on the other hand, said they filed bankruptcy just prior to receiving the franchise termination notice. U.S. bankruptcy judge Brendan Shannon ruled in October in favor of RMH that Applebee’s did not properly terminate the franchise agreements.

Dunkin Without Donuts

“Dunkin’ Donuts to change its name to Dunkin’. Apparently the company is sick of the hole thing.” So wise-cracked Mike Stobbe on Twitter about the change scheduled for January.  But at least one expert marketer approves of the change, as well as another, less high-profile switch. Denise Kohnke, founder and CEO of the Milwaukee-based marketing firm House United, called the Dunkin’ change “a great idea. “Pivots in general like this re-invigorate brands, and when executed well they are great tactics,” she said.

Meanwhile the Dwyer Group changed its corporate name to Neighborly. Dwyer is the family name of the company’s founder, the late Don Dwyer. “It’s a badge of a consumer-centric company in that they’re putting the consumer decision journey before the egos of the family name,” Kohnke said.

A Top 200+ Debut

When a trio of private equity firms acquired Mountain Mike’s in April 2017, the Newport Beach, California-based pizza brand already had strong momentum, one of its new owners said, which carried through the year and put Mountain Mike’s on the Franchise Times Top 200+ for the first time, at No. 271. An initiative Britt Capital’s Chris Britt says helped drive sales in 2017 was the shift to more digital marketing and a greater focus on ROI. Working with Cardlytics, a company that creates measurement and analytics tools based on purchase data, “We’re able to target ads and offers to folks who fit our demographics,” says Britt.

McD’s ‘Resounding Yes’

More than 400 McDonald’s operators at a National Owners Meeting in Tampa gave a “resounding yes” to forming a self-funded advocacy group representing franchisees, to be called NOA or National Owners Association, according to a meeting recap dated October 10. It would be the first franchisee association in McDonald’s history. Co-hosts set their next meeting for December 12 in Dallas. “Please remember that you are not alone!” the recap said.

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