Yesterday, May 31st, Arby’s released an online commercial with the intentions of spreading the word of their reintroduction of the Smokehouse Brisket sandwich. This commercial however, was no where near the traditional 30 second spot, much further even from multi-minute videos that have found a cozy home in the online world. Arby’s aired a 13-hour commercial simply consisting of a single take of a brisket being smoked at one of its smokehouses in Texas.
No…you did not misread that figure, 13-hours long was this commercial. The commercial ended with Arby’s corporate executive chef, Neville Craw, assembling a brisket sandwich using the freshly smoked meat. This commercial has apparently decimated the previous Guinness World Record for longest commercial ever aired.
The commercial was aired on a special website that lured viewers with prizes that popped up throughout the commercial, including 13 cash prizes of $1,300. The goal of this project, as explained by Matt Heath, creative director at Arby’s agency of record, was “to demonstrate that the flavor of Arby’s brisket is real—not from a bottle—and that Arby’s actually smokes its meat for 13 hours.” The story of this project has been released in places such as Times, Slate, Mashable, Inc., and Business Insider, proving to have been successful in getting the word out.
I must admit that I think this PR stunt is awesomely clever, in that it utilizes and displays an everyday process of Arby’s as a way of raising awareness of a fresh, homemade product in an industry that is very seldomly associated with such terms. I want to laugh at the thought of watching a screen with the video stream of a piece of meat cooking and rotating in a smoker for even 5 minutes, let alone 13-hours, and I think that this laughable notion is partially what creates the appeal. In a seemingly never ending evolving media landscape, simple and unconventional ways of raising awareness of products and services is a key area of focus for PR practitioners, and what may seem like a strange and peculiar idea may find its appeal in that strangeness.
(All information provided has been gathered from PR News online source: http://www.prnewsonline.com/water-cooler/2014/05/29/arbys-13-hour-brisket-pr-stunt/)