Nando’s x Saka collab harks back to the 90’s era of third spaces

Nando’s x Saka collab harks back to the 90’s era of third spaces

The Fitting Room’s founder Charlotte Mair says Arsenal and England footballer Bukayo Saka’s Nando’s partnership is a successful example of cross-collaboration.

As a baller, you’ve got to have sauce, but Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka has taken that literally. The new Nando’s x Saka collab has just launched, and here's why I’m all for it.

To celebrate the launch of the new sauce, Bukayo took charge in the kitchen, rallying a team of chefs, including one from Arsenal football club, to bring his culinary creation to fruition.

Dubbed the ‘Yes Chef’ campaign, it offers a playful glimpse into the bustling atmosphere of a high-energy restaurant kitchen, with Saka at the helm, guiding his team and expertly blending ingredients to perfect his sauce's flavour.

The campaign showcases eye-catching chili-themed billboards across London, spanning OOH and social media platforms, with BVOD also joining the lineup this week. Both the restaurant chain and the footballer are actively engaging audiences with social media posts.

Crafted in partnership with Nando’s creative agency, New Commercial Arts, media agency Zenith, and social media agency Born Social, this collaboration aims to spice up the culinary scene while highlighting Saka's creativity and passion for cooking.

Nando’s ‘cheeky’ strategy

Nando’s have been marketing hard on becoming the ‘go to’ hang-out spot for Gen-Z. With the large decline in physical third spaces and the rise in loneliness among Gen Z and Millennials, there’s a huge gap there and Nando's wants to be the one to capitalise on it.

And if you want to build engagement with the younger generations, who better to do it than English football’s golden boy? It’s the icing on an already very strong marketing campaign cake by Nando’s being able to one, establish the culturally cool Gen-Z capital and two, WITHOUT alienating other demographics.

”Cheeky Nando’s” remains a phrase across generations. Dining and food collabs started way back in the 90s when we saw KFC and Taco Bell kill it with their MC Hammer collaboration. And that’s why this move is so good.

What better way to begin re-establishing third spaces within casual dining than taking a leaf out of the marketing playbook of the golden age of third spaces (the 90s)?

We’ve been doing this as far back as 2017 with our Naughty Boy x Shake Shack campaign which saw solid results. Casual dining has been operating in challenging conditions since lockdown; however, it only means there’s a huge gap for those who understand their audience and create solid brand DNA.

Using star power is one key way I’m seeing hospitality brands being able to ride out this storm. It's a great move from Nando’s and I’ve got no doubt we’re about to start seeing other brands begin to cross-pollinate talent and sectors.

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