Welcome to Moe’s!
It’s the familiar greeting customers hear every time they walk into a Moe’s Southwest Grill. So who is Moe?
Or the better question: What is MOE? That’s right… Moe is not a person. It’s an acronym that stands for “Musicians, Outlaws and Entertainers.”
If you thought Moe was a burrito-wrapping, nacho-piling, salsa connoisseur, you're not alone. Even Marketing VP Dominic Losacco thought the popular Tex-Mex restaurant group was named after a person before joining the company a little over a year ago. It’s a common misconception he and Moe’s President Bruce Schroder want to dispel by spelling out what M-O-E really stands for.
Step one: Bring Moe’s back to its musical roots.
The first Moe’s opened in Atlanta, Ga. in 2000. The M-O-E acronym fit the fun-loving personalities of the original owners, who kept their musical connection low key. They paid tribute to “dearly departed” artists by hanging portraits of the beloved musicians and streaming a special Dearly Departed Playlist in each location.
Moe’s website states, “Music isn’t just background noise to us. It’s part of who we are.” But the link flew under the radar for most guests, until now.
That’s what Losacco hopes to change. “We’re not trying own music,” says Losacco, “We’re trying to educate and show people how music has always been part of the DNA and culture within the brand.”
Helping steer their music strategy is Coca-Cola Music team Joe Belliotti and Yuri Pereira. Brought together by Coca-Cola Senior Customer Marketing Manager Robin Perry, Losacco and Schroder from Moe’s and Coke Music met in October for a full-day planning session to find new, innovative ways to put “Musicians” back in Moe’s – literally.
From live streaming to Coca-Cola Spotify playlists, “one of our main goals with Coke Music is to test new ideas in different places and new platforms,” explains Pereira. “A live stream in the middle of a Coca-Cola costumer’s restaurant, that’s new, and definitely different.”
The activation was a success across the board. “Our ultimate goal is to help Moe’s tell their music story in a new and different way and leverage Coke Music in doing so,” says Perry. “Mission accomplished.”
The event alsosparked a 46 percent increase in social media conversation around Moe’s over the day prior.
Moe’s also knows it’s important to stand out. From menu items named after pop culture references like Billy Barou and Joey Bag of Donuts, the franchise is known for its unique personality.
“Moe’s a bit of an outlaw,” says Losacco. “It’s in our name to be a non-conformist, but it’s the outlaw part of the name that’s the hardest to understand” he adds, speaking about the “O” in Moe’s.
Think of Moe’s as the lovable rebel who goes against the grain, not the bad guy in an old Western flick.
Losacco and team are exploring new ideas to embrace its rebel roots beyond live music. One way is through Augmented Reality posters. Six new pieces of artwork featuring music undertones will roll out to all franchises across the U.S. by end of year.
Looking ahead to 2017 and beyond, Losacco says he’d love to plan more activations with the true entertainer of the world, Coca-Cola. “When it comes to entertaining, Coca-Cola is at the forefront,” he says. “So when it came to helping out Moe’s with this challenge, [Coca-Cola] was a perfect fit.”
The positive response is music to Coca-Cola team’s ears. “When you’re helping a customer with brand ambassadorship and sewing that brand love with their guests, that’s when you know you’re hitting on all cylinders of a partnership,” says Perry.
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