Coming up with the number of ads the average person sees in a day would be like trying to count the stars in the sky from a desolate mountain top on a clear night. Impossible. CBS says about 5,000. Even that seems low. And most of those ads lack inventiveness and creativity, and so they often fall completely short of their goals.
Amidst this marketing wasteland, one company sticks out to me like a bright shining plate of delicious roast beef, slathered with melted cheese and decadent sauce… excuse me; I’m thinking Arby’s.
Their tasty meats have delighted my belly for years, and their marketing techniques are almost as delicious. The first that came into my world was this clip on Reno 911 a couple years ago, featuring the most hilarious and shamelessly obvious bit of product placement I have yet seen.
In this scene, Trudy and Lt. Dangle attempt to unravel a crime scene which centers around a bag of Arby’s sandwiches, and (secondarily) a homicidal shooting. They drop the word “delicious” four times, the phrase “piping hot Arby’s” three times, and twice directly refer to specific items on the menu. Insanely effective.
More recently, I was forced against my will to watch Joe Dirt 2 on the streaming tv app, Crackle. Every few minutes the movie would fade out and in would fade the same advertisement for Arby’s new sandwiches. Over and over they flashed on the screen, and since that time, months ago, all I can think about is Arby’s. (More than one friend has mentioned the obsession with concern.)
Part of the reason that was so effective is because their food is scrumptious and the advertising shows it. Another huge factor was that it was broadcast about a million times during the movie, but because Crackle is still such a new player in the app-o-sphere, it probably barely made a scrape in Arby’s advertising budget. There are thousands of apps on streaming devices such as a Roku or a Chrome stick or a Samsung Smart TV or what have you, and each of those has some viewers or they wouldn’t be adding fresh content. So much opportunity.
Additionally, the company has really found its voice in terms of branding, which is evident in this YouTube commercial (not sure if it aired on television). Again, shameless.
There’s another Arby’s video on YouTube that is 13 hours long – the time it takes to properly smoke a brisket.
I have great respect for the clever side outlets Arby’s has found for its marketing techniques, and I have two suggestions for further opportunities. The first is a branded Lens from Snapchat that could show the person with a little Arby’s hat on, and of course a delicious, piping hot Arby’s sandwich somewhere in the frame. The second would be to pay the developers of the game Evil Apples (the mobile version of Cards Against Humanity) to include cards relative to the insanely tasty items available at your local Arby’s. That monetization strategy would actually be a lot less disruptive than that app’s current model, so it would work for everyone.
So…. what’s for lunch?