What is it about fast food that makes people think corporations ought to sacrifice profits for creativity?
I talked about Wendy's decision to (finally) pull their ads featuring a guy in a red wig a couple of months ago in The Madison Avenue Journal. Now The New York Times is questioning whether Applebee's should have pulled its quirky talking apple and replaced it with a tried and true approach:
Early tests showed mixed results — some people loved the apple’s attitude, though others found it off-putting — but the real problem was that the fruit in question failed to give the company’s bottom line an immediate lift.
They go on and on about how this was an opportunity to make Applebee's cool. (Yeah. Good luck with that.)
Hidden at the bottom of the NY Times inverted pyramid is the stat that should have been the lead -- the good news for Applebee's now that they've gone back to selling food:
The chain . . . reported a 0.5 percent increase in same-store sales for the first quarter. Among company-owned stores (and excluding franchisees), the increase was 2.1 percent.
“The first quarter release is our first positive same-store sales in two years,” Ms. Scott of Applebee’s said. “It’s safe to say this campaign is working for us, so we’re going to stick with it.”