Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cincinnati's Pie Wars

A couple weeks ago, I noted the marketing savvy of Busken Bakery, a Cincinnati favorite, in regards to capitalizing on the hype of American Presidential elections.  Every four years, Busken customers can elect their candidate by purchasing its candidate cookies as the bakery keeps a close eye on which candidate sells more cookies.

The bakery's marketing is in the news again.  This time its for their ongoing competition over who makes the best pumpkin pie, them or Frisch's Big Boy, a chain famous for its Big Boy burgers and deserts.  The battle began when Frisch's inadvertently put up a billboard over Busken's flagship store and both chains have gone back and fourth ever since.  The pumpkin pie touting competition has produced some clever work and interesting stunts, but I might give a slight edge to Busken after dressing up a Big Boy statue in a Busken bakery apron. 

In terms of sales, both sides are winning.  The competition has elevated the status of pumpkin pie and both companies have benefited. This week, the competition earned national attention on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.  

I've not tried the pies from either Busken or Frisch's.  The Frisch's Big Boy burgers were a college favorite of mine and Busken is a great place to stop in for a late night treat.  However, I really enjoy Busken's advertising.  It's both simple and consistent and often very clever.  So much so that they have even been made into a book, titled Have a Crumby Book. 

Although it's only a small local chain that most people have never experienced, I really admire the branding of Busken Bakery.  

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