Delicious art and craft in C-K’s Panera Bread spot

From C-K’s Panera Bread spot

It’s taken what seemed like an eternity  — well, close to it — for Cramer-Krasselt/Chicago to debut its first ad campaign for new client St. Louis-based Panera Bread.

This is one of those joyous occasions, however, when it pleases us to say the result was well worth the wait.

And now that the campaign has launched (as of Monday), it’s rather easy to see why we had to wait so long.

As it turns out, this was no step in front the cameras, shoot for three days, do a quick post-production-and-release kind of effort.  Not at all.

C-K has been busy concocting a Rube Goldberg-type contraption that is at the center  of an utterly-delightful launch spot called “Anthem,” as so many launch spots in new campaigns are dubbed nowadays.

The title “Anthem” in no ways does credit to this 60-second spot, which manages to seem wonderfully simply and amazingly elaborate all at once.

But most importantly — and we can’t stress this enough — the brand messaging is crystal clear here, even as we are enjoying the craft and art of advertising that has gone into the making of this commercial and the overarching campaign.

Panera has reason to claim “Eat Deliciously”

First, there is the tagline, which by itself perfectly encapsulates the positioning that C-K has arrived at for this campaign:  “Live Consciously. Eat Deliciously.” Could the message be any clearer?

Connoisseurs of fast-casual dining no doubt long ago reached their own conclusions about where Panera Bread ranks in the standings among such restaurants. But debate notwithstanding, Panera has emerged as a pretty popular dining option for a lot of people when they want something quick, tasty and relatively wholesome.

And that is why C-K and Panera can — with considerable confidence — posit the claim about eating deliciously.  Maybe not as deliciously as one would dine in a five-star establishment.  But for what Panera is, the line rings true.

But back to the launch commercial itself.  C-K could have done the expected — filmed some product shots and mixed it with some imagery of an actual Panera eatery where people are cheerily chowing down — and then called it day.

But no.  C-K took its time. A lot of time. The agency  turned to a company called lstAveMachine, which painstakingly executed a Rube Goldberg-type device that — in most entertaining fashion — takes viewers on a journey that  explains much about what makes Panera what it is. 

Fortunately, the creators of this Rube Goldberg-like device (which must have taken months to conceive of and perfect) haven’t tried to load it up with too much stuff. 

The device seeks only to make a few key points about how Panera started as a company intent on making fresh breads from scratch and how the restaurant chain expanded its purview to include menu items with ingredients such as antibiotic-free chicken.

Panera has an active social conscience

As the new campaign tagline makes clear, though, food is just half of the brand positioning.  The second part of the “Anthem” spot goes on to explain that Panera also is a company with a social conscience — exemplified by its decision to donate leftover baked goods every day to people in need.

Of course, most commercials rise or fall depending on how they end.  And this new Panera spot concludes with a cunning visual of the Rube Goldberg-like device shot from overhead.

It’s a image that clearly shows the device to be circular — adding another layer of symbolism. Yes, Panera is a company that starts anew every day going through the same cycle of making good food and demonstrating social responsibility that has become the company’s core reason for being.

The sincere-sounding voiceover, coupled with an engaging — but not overpowering or distracting — musical underscoring, only adds to this “Anthem’s” undeniable charms.

Porsche should look at C-K’s Panera spot

As we watched what C-K has accomplished in this new Panera effort, however, we couldn’t help but reflect on a little drama (okay, a big drama) playing out even as this new campaign is debuting.

That would be C-K’s attempt to retain the Porsche North America ad account currently in review. C-K is still in the running. But that is all that can be said at this point.  

Though the Panera work is nothing like what C-K has done for Porsche, the folk at the famed German car maker should at least take a look at this new campaign before any decision is made.

Here is an agency that understands advertising.  C-K has proven it can deliver work with clear messaging and more than ample creativity. 

Porsche would do well to keep that in mind.

Cramer-Krasselt credits: CCO, Marshall Ross; ECD, Derek Green; ACD/CW, Bill Dow; co-director of brand planning, Joan Colletta-Sapp; planning director, Kay Bradley; campaign managers, Ericka Svenonius, Bill Lampert.

Production company credits: 1stAveMachine, New York. Directors, Antonio Balseiro and Bob Partington; DP, William Rexer; CD, Aaron Duffy; EP, Sam Penfield; line producer, Melinda Nugent;

Finishing credits: 1stAveMachine. Editor, Nate Buchik; producer, Topper Anton; lead compositor, Ariel Altman; compositors, Beryl Chen, Maxim Kornev.  Color correction: Company 3, New York. Music and sound mix, Nylon, New York.

Contact Lewis Lazare at