Chili’s Fires Back at Steve Carell’s Treachery

Discussion
Jul 21, 2010
George Anderson

By George Anderson

Michael Scott, the character that Steve Carell plays on
the NBC comedy, The Office, loves Chili’s. Apparently, so did Mr. Carell until
recently. While taking a humorous
shot at Lebron James, the actor chose to proclaim on ESPN’s ESPY Awards show
that Outback Steakhouse is his new favorite restaurant.

Announcing his decision, Mr. Carell said he, “was taking his
appetite to Outback Steakhouse. He added, “In a perfect world I’d be eating
at Chili’s constantly, but tonight, there’s no rules … Outback had the Bloomin’
Onion and I needed to go there.”

Stunned by this open act of betrayal,
Chili’s fired back with a letter on its Facebook page (taking a humorous shot
at Cleveland Cavalier’s owner Dan Gilbert).

Company president Wyman Roberts
wrote, “Steve Carell’s shameful display
of selfishness and betrayal has shifted our ‘motivation’ to previously unknown
and previously never experienced levels … This shocking act of disloyalty
from our homegrown ‘funny man’ sends the exact opposite flavor of what we would
want our children to taste. And ‘where’ we would want them to go out and eat.”

Mr.
Wyman added, “I personally guarantee that Chili’s menu items will
be bolder and tastier than those of the self-titled ‘steakhouse king.’ You
can take that to the smoker.”

Discussion Questions: What do you think of Chili’s response to Steve Carell’s
parody of Lebron James’ announcement to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers and join
the Miami Heat? Will this good-natured reply to Mr. Carell help the chain bring
in more customers?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.

Join the Discussion!

11 Comments on "Chili’s Fires Back at Steve Carell’s Treachery"


Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Dick Seesel
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

Carrell’s “decision” was obviously intended as parody (and a good one) of one of the biggest displays of vanity “journalism” in recent memory. And Chili’s obviously got the joke, based on its feigned outrage posted on Facebook. Let’s face it: Most publicity of this kind will sell more baby back ribs, and hats off to Chili’s for leveraging social networking to drive its PR effort.

David Livingston
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

It’s funny and makes people feel good. I think it will benefit both Chili’s and Outback.

David Dorf
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

Chili’s response is exactly how brands should use social media to get attention. Play along, entertain, and do the unexpected. They have a great chance to get more exposure, and remind people to visit.

Jonathan Marek
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

It’s nice when everyone can riff off the absurdity of the LeBron situation. The Chili’s letter struck exactly the right note. It’s very in keeping with their light, fun atmosphere. Ride the PR! Well done!

Al McClain
Guest
Al McClain
10 years 9 months ago

This is Chili’s having a little fun with some of its loyal followers–Facebook fans. They’ll get the humor and Chili’s will seem a little hipper for it. No direct ROI but that’s not the point.

Nikki Baird
Guest
Nikki Baird
10 years 9 months ago

I think it is wonderful that a corporation can demonstrate that it has a sense of humor. I don’t know that any of this will sell more of anything, but certainly if you want to associate yourself with a brand that has a sense of humor, Chili’s has shown that this particular brand element goes a little bit more than skin deep.

I still think there are only two brand elements that are going to be critical in this decade: relevancy and authenticity. Chili’s has hit both on the mark.

David Zahn
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

It proves they “get it” and taps into a popular news (?) story with appropriate humor and understanding of social media.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

As all the creatives wring their hands and all the marketers pace the floor on how to best use social media and how to best get a customer’s attention, Chili’s hit the nail on the head.

The worst thing that a brand can do on Facebook type sites is take itself seriously. Social media is largely not serious and the typical direct product pounding does not fit the medium.

Gene Hoffman
Guest
Gene Hoffman
10 years 9 months ago

Chili’s fired back humorously when attacked by Outback. Another example of much ado about nothing when there’s not enough light, just too much Heat.

Doug Stephens
Guest
Doug Stephens
10 years 9 months ago

Not only did Chili’s get the joke, they also got an incredible amount of free PR.

What I find most interesting about things like this and even the recent Old Spice Man campaign, is that brands are becoming remarkably comfortable constructing their marketing campaigns spontaneously and on-the-fly. It’s like walking a tightrope without a net and takes an incredible amount of courage and openness. A complete departure from the agency-driven, mass media campaigns we became accustomed to over the last 100 years or so.

I applaud Chili’s or any other brand that has the guts to market in real time!

Ed Rosenbaum
Guest
10 years 9 months ago

Steve Carell has taken a huge shot at the vanity and egocentric needs of both LeBron James and ESPN with this parody. Chili’s and Outback will be good-natured recipients of the success the new world of social media marketing can bring when used properly.

This is one of the most humorous bits I have seen.

wpDiscuz

Take Our Instant Poll

How much will Chili’s response to Steve Carell’s ’decision’ on the ESPY awards help or hurt its business?

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...