Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The apple of no one's eye

Casual dining restaurants are inessential in many ways - you're paying out the nose for something you could often make a close enough facsimile of at home, and you're certainly not saving much time in the process. So it's not surprising that such restaurants would position themselves in advertising as gathering places, not just as vendors of food. Check out any ad for, say, TGI Friday's, or the Olive Garden.

Leave it to Applebee's - whose previous ad campaigns went as far as to take credit for community bonding and not just mere social bonding - to provide me with a new reason to be annoyed.

[Three members of a family sit around a room. The son is playing video games, the father is on a laptop, and the daughter is doing something difficult to see at this resolution. Possibly texting or reading a book. Who gives a shit, really.]

Spokesapple: "You call this a family room?"

Yeah, but I'm old-fashioned like that. I call things what they are. Maybe I'm crazy, although I'm not the one whose new spokesperson is a sentient apple voiced by Wanda Sykes.

[Cut to the entire family, with now-present Mom in tow, sitting in a booth.]

Spokesapple: "This is a family room! Full of the flavors that bring people together!"

I don't know what to feel right now. Applebee's is taking credit for bringing families together? I'll grant that the family was not having a group hug or driving around solving mysteries like the Amazing Chan and the Chan Clan, but for God's sake, at least they were all in the same damn room. That's a pretty close family by modern standards. Either way, what is happening at Applebee's that wasn't going to happen at the dinner table in their own house? "Say, did you ever notice we talk more at dinner while we're all facing each other than at other times when we're all occupied with other stimuli?" Applebee's really wants families to stare at each other from across a cramped booth, I guess. That's togetherness. For a mere fifteen dollars a person.

[Actual information about the current dinner specials]

The family that consumes 2500 calories in one sitting together, stays together. I think I heard that somewhere.

Spokesapple: "Applebee's! Get it together, baby!"

Oh, Wanda Sykes, you're so sassy. And hip. You use "baby" like it's punctuation. You are also saying a different slogan from what Applebee's has put right up there on the screen. Speaking of things that don't match, what is with the mom's reaction here? What is she laughing at? Am I supposed to believe that the spokesapple's line is overdubbed, and the "real" apple on the set was actually telling a joke or something? Why did they use this footage? Look how the mom is just looking, and then forces a laugh when the apple says "Applebee's!" Maybe that was a punchline to a joke she (it?) was telling off-camera.

Spokesapple: All right, I've been working on this material all day. Ready?
Mom: Okay, shoot.
Spokesapple: Okay, what kind of insects do you get the sweetest honey from?
Mom: I don't know, what kind?
Spokesapple: You don't have a guess?
Mom: Was I supposed to- I mean, I just thought you were going to say the punchline.
Spokesapple: Shit. Okay, can we start over?
Mom: Okay.
Spokesapple: So this time you're just gonna say-
Mom: I'll just say I don't know. So you can say the punchline.
Spokesapple: Okay.
Mom: Okay. Go ahead.
Spokesapple: Okay. So, what kind of insects do you get the sweetest honey from?
Mom: I don't know, what kind?
Spokesapple: Applebee's!
Mom: *mirthless chuckle*
Spokesapple: Oh, you can just go fuck yourself.

By the way, if you thought the "spokesapple" is a term I invented for this post... you would be wrong. If you want to spend the rest of the day punching yourself in the face, check out this YouTube channel. Yet another of those desperate attempts at viral marketing by a big company that really doesn't know much about being cool or interesting. And watch the first 20 seconds of the "Spokesapple Revealed" video. A sentient apple that talks and moves under its own power is strange, but an apple that eats and enjoys onion rings despite conspicuously lacking a mouth? That's just insane.


Quivering P. Landmass said...

How much does it cost to sign Wanda Sykes to do a series of commercials? A few hundred thousand -- minimum? So you spend all this money to have someone be the voice of... an apple? How many people recognize that voice? At the very least the apple could have been animated.

By the way, I'm thinking about getting Kanye West to perform at my birthday party. But I'm going to have him and his group behind a curtain, and I'm just going to put my cat on-stage. Sure, it's going to cost a million dollars, but it's going to be friggin' hilarious!

Anonymous said...

Try telling a waitress a wise ghetto apple sent you to their establishment.