Breaking the Burger Chain

From multi-year decline to double-digit growth throughout a pandemic


A burger with everything, except customers.

Smashburger was a neglected fast-casual brand that had seen sales fall year over year. After being acquired by Jollibee Foods, the new team was anxious to turn things around — but quickly realized it wouldn’t be easy to bring customers back. What had started as a fresh concept in the category was now surrounded by innovative and trendy competitors. So they reached out to us with no time — or money — to waste.

Photograph of a Smashburger restaurant.


You deserve a better burger.

“Smashburger” is more than a name, it’s actually their process for making juicier, more flavorful burgers. In a world of faster, lazier options, that’s pretty special. And people can be pretty special, too. That’s why they were tagging their most amazing, incredible, funny, daring and extraordinary ordinary moments with #smashedit. So we smashed them together — creating a campaign that made Smashburger the ultimate reward for people who smashed it.

Click to view the "intermittent fasting" video.
Click to view the "pick-up line" video.
Click to view the "working from home" video.
Click to view the "karate" video.
Smashburger tweet - "Catch some Monday Motivation with 100% mouthwatering angus topped with even more 100% mouthwatering angus."

Meatier media.

We couldn’t afford a national media blitz, so we focused our buy around seven key markets and chose dayparts that sync with meal planning. Spots aired on social and streaming services to maximize reach and frequency. Digital ads encouraged online ordering and outdoor boards were strategically placed to aid in wayfinding. Once you saw our message, you followed it all the way to Smashburger.

Photograph of a Smashburger billboard - "Every bite a better burger!"
Click to view the "every bite a better burger" video.

Smashing rebranding.

A fresh logo that honors the bold art of smashing.

Photograph of the new Smashburger logo on merchandise and signage.

Rewarding customers.

We reimagined their loyalty program along with a new app and website to streamline ordering and earning. Resulting in online ordering increasing by 41%.

Screenshot of Smashburger's 4.5 out of 5 star rating.

COVID-19 changed the media and the message — but not our momentum.

We quickly pivoted the campaign to support the heroes on the front lines of the pandemic, donating free meals with every purchase. Smashburger’s #FeedtheFrontliners promotion gave away over 30,000 meals and raised $175,000 for emergency response workers, helping the brand leave a meaningful mark.

Smashburger Instagram reel - "# Feed the Frontliners"
Instagram post - "Thank you, firefighters!"
Smashburger tweet - "Happy National Nurses Week to all the dedicated nurses that keep us safe."


The results are also pretty smashing.

Sales increased 18% vs the fast casual category (-6%). Smashburger has seen their best sales numbers in recent history. And even in the darkest days of the pandemic, they were seeing better sales than their competitors.

Sales Increase
Burgers Smashed in 2021
Most Decadent Burger
Eat This, Not That!
A photograph of three fantastic-looking burgers. And I'm a vegetarian, so you know it's true.