Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar found itself in a tough situation last week when a franchisee group’s multiplatform digital ad campaign ran at cross-purposes with corporate branding plans.
The tongue-in-cheek “Life Is Better Shared” campaign, created for Lexingington, Ky.-based franchisee group Thomas & King, drew on Applebee’s corporate’s “Girls’ Night Out” slogan. Internet comments called the campaign everything from “condescending” to “fantastic” for its use of YouTube video pseudo tutorials, a Tumblr page, and references to Twitter and Pinterest.
But Applebee’s corporate was quick to clarify that the work was not part of its systemwide branding. “The online campaign was produced independently by one of our franchisees and its local agency, and we are currently working with them to revise the work to reflect our brand standards and voice,” Applebee’s spokeswoman Nancy Mays said in a statement.