Dining Out Magazine

That’s Not How You Throw a Chair, Applebee’s.

By Keewood @sellingeating

My wife was actually at the IU game where Coach “Anger Issues” Knight threw that infamous chair. It was a childish thing to do, but he was The General and the tolerance in the mid-80s was way, way, way more than zero, so he got by with it.

I guess it’s okay to joke about now, since he’s a harmless senior citizen.

Whatever. He’s not the first person to misbehave in the state of Indiana and turn it into something they talk about for money.

What I will say is this: when a brand starts borrowing old jokes from randomly placed mini-celebrities to sell its $20 Bourbon Street whatever-they-saids, I think they have abandoned any hope of figuring out what makes them different from everybody else. We might enjoy visiting with the celebs and mini-celebs, but whatever implied endorsement they make is pretty irrelevant, and in the end all it does it make you say, “Did you see Knight in that ad? It was for a restaurant or something.”

I think Applebee’s current agency—a talented bunch of people, by reputation—started out trying to position them with at least a clear point of view.

But those days are gone. Apparently.

So many of these big chains struggle to come up with a clear strategy, an “own-able” voice, and a promise that separates them in some way from the next restaurant on the strip by the mall.

So they do a temporary fix. They reflect in some other entity’s glow. In the old days we called this “borrowed interest.”

By the way, friend of the blog Eric pointed out that this ad also borrows interest (noticeable if you’re one of the 15 million who viewed this stupid thing) of the following meme bait.

Advice? Do not invest any time in the preceding YouTube video. I’d sooner have you put on the 10-hour loop of Nyan cat. It’s way more enjoyable. (Fun note: I went to get the link for Nyan cat and there was a :15-second ad for dog food right before the ten endless hours begins. That’s pretty great.)


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