About two years ago, Arby's decided it was ready to try something new. The fast food chain was too far below the radar in a highly competitive field that often requires bold branding.
Just three months into his role as Arby's CMO, Rob Lynch brought in Minneapolis-based Fallon Worldwide as the brand's agency of record to reposition the brand. At the time, Arby's "Slicing up Freshness" campaign, envisioned by Crispin Porter + Bogusky, had fallen flat, so Fallon was tasked with making Arby's the meat destination in its fast food category.
"Right away we needed partners who were proud of the brand and who wanted to be part of the brand," Lynch says. "So we went through a holistic review. We looked at about 15 agencies initially and we whittled it down and we found them. And one of the reasons that we chose them to be our partners was because we felt the authenticity of their love for the brand. We felt like they were going to be our partners in building something special."
Sure enough, it's proven to be a productive partnership, resulting in a string of ads and socially savvy marketing moves that have helped elevate the brand.
It started in earnest in June 2014, when Fallon and Arby's released six new ads spotlighting the fast food company's meat offerings:
Voiced by imposing actor Ving Rhames, the ads definitely stuck out, but it wasn't until an odd contractual obligation arose that Arby's new ad model would truly shine.
When the chain dropped the ball on an agreement with Pepsi to run two ads a year, they released a meta-humorous mea culpa that soon went viral:
Ironically, one of Arby's most popular spots wasn't touting its food at all. In fact, it was a salute and send-off to the chain's most notable foe, Jon Stewart. The move showed Arby's was willing to laugh at itself—and became one of the most-buzzed moments of Stewart's final episode.
Arby's most recent ad campaign, aptly called "Ads That Never Aired," waxes poetic about new sandwiches that are not yet available, like the smokehouse turkey sandwich and a new line of gyros.
Alongside the product shots, you're also served some musings on death, arson and "mighty breasts." They're all worth checking out: