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Falling With Style.

December 3, 2014

Arby's LogoOne day, my wife and I were walking with a buddy of ours and his young daughter through the hallways of our church. Playing around and focused on other things, as kids often do, she tripped over her own foot and began to fall face first. Her father quickly yells out, “Fall with style!” All of a sudden, as if she had years of training, she lands on her side with the grace of an eighties’ b-boy — hand propping up her head and legs crossed. It was so awesome and memorable that years later I still talk about it like it was last Sunday.

I’m sure you’re wondering what that story has to do with restaurant marketing. Well, as I read about Arby’s forgetting their last annual Pepsi commercial requirement, I couldn’t help but think about how gracefully they fell into a position that’s better than they expected. While I admit that I initially thought this was all planned from the beginning, mostly because of how great the outcome was, I know this situation all to well. When I worked for Pizza Inn, we got down to the wire many times with our Dr Pepper agreement. After a lot of transition and being only a fraction of the team we once were, it was very easy to drop the ball on something like this.

In case you have no idea what I’m referring to, I’ll explain. Like most large restaurant chains, Arby’s receives a kick-back for offering a particular beverage or line of beverages and promoting them along side of their food product — in this case, it was Pepsi. Pepsi requires that Arby’s feature their soft drink in at least two television advertisements each year; Arby’s only did so in one commercial. After a polite Pepsi reminder, Arby’s got moving to meet the agreement. I think the roast beef giant and their agency of record Fallon pulled it off successfully. See for yourself.

Before I got into restaurant marketing, I thought McDonald’s loved Coca-Cola so much that they wanted to show a Coke next to their Big Mac and fries. I had no idea they were getting paid to do so. If Arby’s didn’t run this last commercial, they could’ve been charged tens of thousands in returned marketing dollars. Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Arby’s, Fallon, Ving, great job.

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