PIE WARS

Campaigns, Public Relations

An annual tradition of Busken Bakery started by accident. Frisch’s Big Boy regularly purchases billboards to promote their Thanksgiving pumpkin pies. One of these ended up above Busken’s flagship store with the phase “Hello, Pumpkin.” Not to be outdone, Busken purchased an adjacent billboard with the phrase “That’s Mr. Pumpkin to you, Big Boy.” Thus began Cincinnati’s infamous “Pie Wars.” 

This tongue-in-cheek marketing one-upmanship culminated in 2012 when Fallon Thatcher created a video starring the owners of the bakery. Brothers Dan and Brian Busken donned ski masks and Busken-branded jumpsuits, and pranked the Frisch’s mainliner, decorating the Big Boy statue and its oversized hamburger and leaving a piece of advice on the marquee: “Count on Busken for Pumpkin Pie.” To make the experience larger than life, Fallon Thatcher layered in bombastic effects adding lasers, explosions, and “attack hawks.”

Comedic and unexpected, Fallon Thatcher used the video to position the bakery in a national conversation about how heritage brands can stay relevant with their audiences by taking risks and offering memorable experiences. High-visibility placements in the Wall St. Journal, Jezebel, Nasdaq.com, and AOL.com boosted pie sales by 20% for the holiday season, and helped make the bakery relevant for a new generation of loyal consumers. 

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