Arby’s Forgot to Feature Pepsi in an Ad, but This Apology More Than Makes Up for It

An obligation sparked an opportunity

Arby's wants you—and Pepsi—to know it's really sorry that it forgot to feature the soft drink in two of its own ads this year.

The roast beef chain's deal with the soda brand requires Arby's to promote the drink in its own advertising. But by the time Pepsi (politely) reminded the fast-food restaurant's executives earlier this fall, Arby's had already finished all of the year's creative, reports The Wall Street Journal.

So, Arby's and agency Fallon made this awesomely simple, self-referential spot, owning up to the mistake with a close-up of a sweaty pint of Pepsi and a voiceover from actor Ving Rhames feigning humbled indignation. The ad reportedly will only air in Minneapolis, New York and Los Angeles.

"We love you, Pepsi," notes the clip's YouTube summary. "You're like a meat to us."

It's another gem from a growing vein of meta ads that poke fun at the marketing process, peeling back the curtain and inviting savvy consumers to take part in the joke. Newcastle Brown Ale has proven itself expert at this, and Norwegian bank Nordnet's new ads make for a strong addition to the genre as well.

Refreshing as the straight-talk may seem, though, it was all done with Pepsi's blessing. Plus, odds are good that any Pepsi you order at Arby's is going to come in a paper cup. 

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.