Queen of ice cream

After two years of working in an industry that never sleeps, Denise Hutton is happy to now be in one that's best experienced on lazy Sunday afternoons. Hutton, who was previously director of marketing at Casino Niagara, stepped into the VP marketing position at Burlington, Ont.-based Dairy Queen Canada recently.

After two years of working in an industry that never sleeps, Denise Hutton is happy to now be in one that’s best experienced on lazy Sunday afternoons. Hutton, who was previously director of marketing at Casino Niagara, stepped into the VP marketing position at Burlington, Ont.-based Dairy Queen Canada recently.

With close to 600 locations across the country, the chain plans to introduce an

e-mail loyalty program with news about its popular Blizzard flavours in March 2005 to assuage its 18-49 target consumers – known as either ‘treat savers’ (typically women who eat healthily and visit DQ for an occasional sugar kick once or twice a week) or ‘fast-food junkies’ (men who visit four to five times a week).

Hutton has also just returned from California after shooting DQ’s TV spots for next year, created by Grey New York. (Grey Canada handles mainly print and radio marketing this side of the border.)

Hutton says DQ also plans to broaden its menu by introducing a new hamburger called the Grill Burger in May 2005, supported by a national TV campaign and the tagline, ‘Burgers with something to prove.’

‘We know we need to develop our food credentials and that we have not really been a food player,’ she says.

In her previous job, with an enviable marketing budget of $100 million dollars, Hutton helped position Casino Niagara as the upscale alternative to Windsor or Casino Rama locations. She maximized direct mail, database marketing and promotions to attract mainly American casino fans. The move to DQ returns Hutton to QSR, where she worked for Tricon Global Restaurants (which owns KFC and Taco Bell) for 10 years.