Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Pick Up Man

I ate at Applebee's last night. Frankly, it's not my favorite place. Still, my four-year-old loves the hotdogs and french fries. It was close to where we were staying and it was late.

Despite my ambivalent feelings about Applebee's food, I will confess a soft spot for the Applebee's television advertising. A smile always creeps on my face when I hear, "Eatin' Good in the Neighborhood" on my tube. You see, Wasteland Fan has a personal connection with the ads. Foremost is that Pick Up Man commercial. (You know, the one about the Applebee's Carside to Go service, where the hard-working dad picks up the food on his way home and his family loves him, becuase there's just something about a pick up man -- as Joe Diffie intones in the background.) A dear, dear friend is responsible for the idea, concept, and copy of the commercial.

Same Friend of Wasteland Fan (FoWF) is responsible for Applebee's newest tearjerker of a national branding spot, featuring the downtrodden and sadly defeated local high school football team who looks to add insult to injury by missing Applebee's closing time until the barman, waitress, and manager throw caution to the wind and invite the badly grass-stained team in for a special after hours ego-restoring orgy of mozzarella sticks, riblets, Irresist-a-bowls, and Apple Chimicheesecakes. It's the magnum opus of heart-string strumming "neighborhood eatery" spots Applebee's has sent over the airwaves over the last decade. You will recall its predecessor, the retiring coach spot, where the waitress asks "Coach" to help her hang a tribute to himself on Applebee's wall of "flair."

FoWF is modest and downplays her place in the pantheon of pop culture shapers, but I call it as I see it. I love the Applebee's ads.

Who couldn't love a company who finds a way to work the following phrase into a commercial for the Weight Watchers dishes, featuring a parody of the classic song "You Sexy Thing" by Hot Chocolate: "I'm goin' from love handles to love machine."



Blogger Trailhead said...

Strange, indeed, that a vegetarian could be drawn back to Applebee's again and again for the pleasure of eating exactly three pieces of lettuce smothered in ranch dressing. But those ads...there's just something about them....

12:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aw, shucks. That was so nice. (I'm just afraid of what the other comments might be!) Sincerely, Amanda Sue Pickering

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wait a sec, Wasteland. It just dawned on me that this post would seem to imply that you and your family opted for an Applebee's while visiting the San Fran area (aka food capitol of the US?). Ah the joys of traveling with a 4-year-old. . . (and a baby).

1:01 PM  
Blogger Wasteland Fan said...

It's true. We ate at Applebee's in a North Bay suburb. It was late. There were few options. Wasteland Kid was up for it. We gave in to the ease of the corporatized eatery even in the land of plenty that is San Francisco.

On a related note, food capital of the US and child friendly are not two titles that San Francisco seems to be able to hold simultaneously. Perhaps the two are mutually exclusive, at least in when it comes to the dining experience.

7:03 PM  
Blogger Rose said...

They did a special on 60 minutes about the cleanliness (or lack thereof) in restaurants and Applebee's was one of the highest for health code violations.

1:17 AM  
Blogger Wasteland Fan said...

Rose, all the more reason that the advertising is genius, right? You hear the "Simply Irresist-A-Bowls" commercial and you're too busy groovin' to the music to think, "I wonder how many cockroaches they had to brush out of that bowl before they put my shrimp and spinach salad in it?" Ya know?

1:58 PM  

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