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Krystal goes indie, names The Tombras Group AOR


By Doug Zanger, Americas Editor

May 7, 2018 | 3 min read

Venerable, iconic southern burger chain Krystal has named The Tombras Group, the Knoxville, Tennessee-based independent agency, as its agency of record. The account is moving from BrightRedTBWA.

Krystal names The Tombras Group as AOR

Krystal names The Tombras Group as AOR

“We screened for fit based on range of services, experience in restaurants, reigniting brands, and proximity to our customers. We identified Tombras as a lead contender and once we found the intangibles of cultural fit, a collaborative spirit and passion for our brand were in place, they delivered thinking and ideas that earned the relationship,” said Krystal chief executive officer Paul Macaluso.

Founded in 1932, and known for serving up sharable, square hamburgers, the brand is looking to generate more momentum in the competitive QSR space. To that end, The Tombras Group is bucking the project work trend by getting the full meal of assignments including all aspects of strategic planning, creative, media planning and buying across broadcast, social, digital, PR and point-of-purchase.

“Growing up in Tennessee, the Krystal brand has always meant a lot to me personally,” said Dooley Tombras, executive vice president of The Tombras Group. “I have incredible memories eating there with my family in childhood to late nights in college, and that feeling is shared across The Tombras Group. We all know the brand so well that the opportunity to work on this business is a longtime dream come true. “

“Krystal is an incredible challenger brand that people already love but needs a more relevant way to regain the hearts and minds of our guests. The Tombras Group’s record of success with this very challenge, to modernize beloved brands, speaks for itself,” added Macaluso.

Macaluso’s history and track record in QSR covers some elite brands including Burger King, Sonic, Yum Brands, especially revitalization in marketing, operations and digital initiatives.

For its part, The Tombras Group, which counts OrangeTheory and several Darden restaurant brands on its roster, has broad experience in working with unique, southern brands like Krystal. The agency put MoonPie squarely on the map with work, especially on social media, that resulted in increased sales and such high demand in August 2017, that the factory ran out of supplies and shut down temporarily.

The first campaign for Krystal is set to launch later in the summer and, according to Tombras, the agency is looking forward to the challenge.

“There’s tremendous existing brand equity in Krystal. We’re excited to unlock that equity, give Krystal a modern voice and reinvigorate the brand. We want the new creative to be as distinct and shareable as Krystal’s burgers.”


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