Five things Arby's should do to improve its image


Arby's Logo.jpg
We've all heard how you can't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse, but Arby's would have to do something close to really compete with fast-food rivals like McDonald's, Taco Bell and Subway. To help pull off this miracle, Arby's recently added new CMO Russ Klein (he jumped ship from Burger King in January) and just hired hot-hot Boulder firm Crispin Porter + Bogusky to turn its "Good Mood Food" slogan from catchy alliteration to reality.

Because right now it seems like people are in the mood to eat somewhere, anywhere else. To give Crispin Porter + Bogusky a head start, we're offering, free of charge, our top five things Arby's should do to improve its image. Horsey sauce packets not included.

Arby's 5.jpg
Something happened from the pasture to the stores.
5. Get rid of that dumbass cowboy hat logo.

Brand recognition be damned -- the dead-last thing customers are thinking about when they pull into a drive-thru at Arby's is a cowboy. After all, the various meats used in the signature sandwiches are far from right off the hoof -- and there are no beans, biscuits, chow wagons or cooks named "Cookie" at any Arby's store. Besides, that particular hat style went out when Hoss Cartwright rode into the sunset...long before country-Western enjoyed another popularity hiccup with Urban Cowboy. So it's time for a new logo.

Arby's 4.jpg
More misses than hits.
4. Make less-stupid commercials.

Sure, other fast-food places have acted seriously idiotic as they attempted to grab the television audience, but since they are making money right now and Arby's isn't, Arby's should pay more attention to the deets. The last Arby's ad I recall seeing was an annoying white guy with a Napoleon Bonaparte hairstyle and a faux Western shirt outside of an Arby's gassing on about Angus beef like it was something new and exciting. The commercial made me want to get a pair of scissors and give the guy a haircut -- not go out and grab a sandwich.

Arby's 3.jpg
Learn from the masters.
3. Ditch Pepsi and bring back Coke.

Arby's had Coke products up until 2006, at which time the company switched over to Pepsi. This may seem like an unimportant detail, but some consumers will ignore chains that don't have the sodas they want. PepsiCo probably made Arby's a great offer, but Coca-Cola tastes better, sells better and the company has a firm grasp on the kind of successful, emotive-based marketing -- who doesn't like fuzzy-wuzzly polar bears? -- that Arby's can only dream of emulating. If Arby's can't find a marketing niche that effectively pimps its bags of sub-par roast beef melts, then the next logical thing is to rip off Coke's, since no Coca-Cola executives are eating cat food under bridges.

Arby's 2.jpg
The savior has come.
2. Team up with another concept that will make Arby's more appealing.

It's fairly common these days to see dual -- but same company-owned- -- chains cozied up in the same spaces, giving customers more menu options with more convenience. So Arby's should cough up the clams to buy into a concept that's better than its own -- almost any other fast-food chain falls into this this category, but Pinkberry would do particularly well -- and use that customer base as a draw. Like a tick siphoning the blood from a dog, this potential parasitic relationship would give Arby's at least two things it's never had: fantastic fro-gurt, and a reason for people to eat there.

Arby's 1.jpg
...or they could help them torch it for the insurance money...
1. Make food that people want to eat for a change.

Overhauling Arby's entire menu probably isn't in its marketing/PR contract, but CP+B should intervene on the dining public's behalf for the same reason that people should call the cops when they see someone beating up a toddler -- because somebody needs to do it. Warmed-over deli meat sandwiches globbed with lukewarm nacho cheese sauce, au jus that looks like water-sopped brown gravy mix, a Jamocha shake that tastes like a gas station frappuchino and compost-quality salads -- the menu at Arby's doesn't need a facelift so much as a can of petrol and a match. Arby's image needs work, but its image-makers also need something they can work with.


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21 comments
nastc1
nastc1

All I take from this article is that the person who wrote it doesn't like Arby's one bit lol...How about someone who enjoys the food there re-writes this.

Jason D Odermatt
Jason D Odermatt

I love Arbys food, dont matter what the slogan is, I have eaten their for years and never had a bad meal. I don't like Coke to nasty tasting or most of its products keep Pepsi. But Arbys does need better appeal, I remember them saying they don't need silly things to market them then the next thing you know they had a oven mitt on my screen

AgendaBusterIf really needed that Job to help your Mom you would have cut your hair. Guess  you did not need it that bad to choose your Hair over your Mom., so save the sob story.. 

Jason D Odermatt
Jason D Odermatt

PS I don't like Coke or most of its products keep Pepsi.

Jason D Odermatt
Jason D Odermatt

I love Arbys food, dont matter what the slogan is, I have eaten their for years and never had a bad meal.

Jon S
Jon S

The giant neon cowboy hat sign at the Arby's at 44th and Sheridan is pretty badass. Not badass enough to make me ever go in, but pretty cool nonetheless. They should all have a sign like that.

Beavis
Beavis

You left out the best option: "Close down. Liquidate assets. Pay off the shareholders."

AgendaBuster
AgendaBuster

~~~When I was a kid in High School I worked at the Arby's at Colfax & Grape. Back in those days Arby's cooked the Real Beef under a light and hung it from a chain right out front where customers could see the Real Beef.  Today, they sell beef particles assembled together with some chemical stuff and shave it off as a Beef sandwich, they chase that faux Beef with a Faux Milk Shake. Then like other Fast Food joints they try and sell us on a Meal with sugar water and a potato cake.  Arby's as others do everything they can to get the price point up to over $5.00. Frankly, there are several real restaurants I can get lunch for 5 or 6 bucks. You see, Fast Food has to be cheaper than a Real Restaurant, or I opt for a real restaurant. I'm done with Fast Food unless it's cheaper than a restaurant. * By the way, that Arby's at Colfax and Grape St. fired me for wearing my hair too long. I was 16 years old and I lived across the street. I would have been their best employee wearing a hat or net, but they fired me! They have no idea how bad I needed that job to help my mom.

GFTW
GFTW

Jenn you should ditch this WW gig and fully step off into a far more lucrative and likely rewarding career as fast food consultant! I think you're wrong about the hat though. Oh and Arby's 5-for-$5 coupons kickass! I loves me some horsey and Arby's sauce on them.

sorta
sorta

I was under the impression that the individual stores got to choose what type of pop they had in their location. That is why some have Dr Pepper and some don't.  And drive across country; there are still some with Coke products.

Citizen Jenn
Citizen Jenn

 I tend to avoid fast-food chicken if at ell possible--I've known too many people over the years who have told me horror stories about it. I read up on the homophobia allegations lodged against Chik-Fil-A , and I was disheartened, but honestly I didn't eat there before. The Budweiser Clydesdales could not drag me into a store. They reek of old chicken grease.

IMO--Bombay Bowl is a fine alternative  to fast-food grabs. The food is inexpensive, delicious, and includes veggies, passably good Indian sauces, and the chicken there is well-prepared and seasoned. I've eaten there several times this week, and my goal is to try every combination of items I can.

No no no
No no no

remember when the Arby's all had a western theme (not just the hat).  They had specific looking buildings (like Taco Bell used to also), and the had sort of inlaid looking floors with the steer "inlaid" to that floor. When i was a little kid, I was endlessly fascinated by that floor.

And btw, the potato cakes are still the single best fast food item available.

Citizen Jenn
Citizen Jenn

 Or my un-subtle suggestion: Burn them all down for the insurance money--maybe they could make it look like an electrical thing.

GFTW
GFTW

Hahaha, this comment will be revealed as totally laughable years from now after Jenn takes over as Arby's CEO and makes it the best and most valuable company in teh world!

MattySelby
MattySelby

Wondering if you remember a bunch of skaters who would steal sauce packets to squirt all over the outside of the building, and otherwise make the lives of employees and managers miserable. If you do, it wasn't me...

Citizen Jenn
Citizen Jenn

 There is nothing about this post I don't like, except for the Mom part. I'm looking forward to the future when us Gen Xers are in charge, so the outdated "rules" about professional appearance are relaxed if not withdrawn. I can personally relate--I've been told I wasn't qualified for jobs because I have piercings, tattoos and "funny" colored hair. None of those things have ever affected my typing skills.

Citizen Jenn
Citizen Jenn

 Sadly enough, there are two things I do like about Arby's--the Bronco Berry sauce and the Horsey sauce. Notice neither of these things is an actual menu item.

steveville
steveville

I agree.  Keep the hat logo.  I expect to see a cowboy hat in a cow town.

Citizen Jenn
Citizen Jenn

 *all* ugh--my keyboard on this phone is the size of a toenail.

Citizen Jenn
Citizen Jenn

 As long as I would never have to eat there.....

GFTW
GFTW

"piercings, tattoos and "funny" colored hair"

Which are job requirements at WestWord!

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