As part of an agreement to serve Pepsi products in its restaurants, fast food chain Arby’s is obligated to feature the soda in at least two television advertisements every year. But this year, Arby’s forgot.
As the company focused on a relaunch around a new tag-line, “We have the meats,” the contract with Pepsi simply slipped everybody’s minds, according to Rob Lynch, chief marketing officer and brand president of Arby’s. Mr. Lynch says the company’s 2014 TV spots have been more focused on that meaty message as opposed to more conventional spots that promote menu items — standard ads where a tall glass of Pepsi fits easily next to a sandwich.
In early October, Pepsi reached out to Arby’s with a friendly reminder: You need to include us in one more ad this year. The problem was that Arby’s already had its end-of-the-year creative ready to go — and it didn’t include Pepsi.
The new ad is devoted entirely to the soda and finishes with the line “Arby’s. We have Pepsi.”
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Here’s the ad:
Well, this year, they forgot. After changing up their marketing strategy earlier this year with a new tagline “We Have the Meats,” the new commercials became less of a natural fit to display a frosty glass of Pepsi sitting proudly next to their sandwiches. So back in October, after Arby’s had only featured Pepsi in one of its 2014 spots, Pepsi gave the fast food chain a little nudge and was like, *ahem* “Remember that thing where you have to mention us twice per year?” and Arby’s was like, “Oh sh*t!” Since they already had their spots shot and planned out through the rest of the year and didn’t want to go back in to already-filmed ads to shoehorn in a product placement, they came up with a solution. Behold, Arby’s solution. It’s kind of hilariously passive aggressive, but being that the entire 30 second, Ving Rhames-voiced spot is devoted entirely to Pepsi — featuring a twist on the tagline “We Have Pepsi” — Pepsi was able to roll with the joke and in the end they were pretty OK with it. “Pepsi: cool, refreshing, and goes great with Arby’s sandwiches, and other Arby’s food.”
— Arby’s (@Arbys) December 1, 2014
“We applaud Arby’s unconventional approach to marketing and when they came to us with this idea, we thought it would be a fun, creative way to highlight our partnership,” Roberto Rios, chief marketing officer for PepsiCo’s food service division, said in an emailed statement.
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.