Need A Reuben Now Syndrome

BBDO NY hired me to breathe some new life into Arby's reuben sandwich campaign. At first, Arby's wanted a St. Patrick's Day themed 'big idea' to be their cross platform campaign – because reubens are Irish and all. Oh wait, they're not, but you know, corned beef, or something.

In any case, we thought up all kinds of crazy shit. One idea involved a leprechaun moped gang that would tour the US mainland. They'd show up to random Arby's establishments and shower gold on unsuspecting diners while doing an Irish jig. These were the gold bug years after all. I'd always wanted to write an Irish folk song, which was unrelated appealing at the time. While this epic road trip was in full tilt going on, we'd have an interactive map and heavily document the whole adventure with hopes to yield a bunch of wacky content. This would all be pushed out over social. 

Arby's did not like this.

So we came up with another idea that incorporated their NRNS (Need a Reuben Now Syndrome) campaign that they had already started running. I say campaign, but more accurately it was a one-off TV spot. In this scenario, one would have NRNS so bad, that they would have to take their reuben cravings out on something. So we created a kind of NRNS therapy, where you could berate a poor scapegoat, which was – you guessed it – a guy donning a goat suit. There were a variety of methods of torment: shoot him with a sauerkraut bazooka, dunk him in a booth of corned beef, make him ice skate on toasted bread, etc. People online could whittle away their lunch hours and channel their Reuben frustrations on to the scapegoat.

Arby's did not like this either (fair enough).

After many more rounds and little progress, they decided that no, they didn't want a big St. Patrick's Day idea after all, but that they did want to throw a few thousand bucks at some "viral videos" about "Reuben Mania." Oh, and they also wanted those viral videos done in a week and a half. I promptly wrote these date/breakup themed scripts in a morning blitz. Somehow they got approved internally that afternoon. This is what some little production company in LA coughed up for a pittance.

My Role

Concept, Scripts, Art Direction

 

Client

Arby's

 

Agency

BBDO New York

 

Year

2012

No, they're not the greatest things. But they're important for me because a) it's rare that that I get to write anything in a professional environment, b) much less get something I wrote actually approved and shot and c) it was fun!

Leprechauns did manage to eek through after all, albeit in a severely watered-down capacity. Our leprechaun named "O'RB" (Bah-zing!) took over and vandalized Arby's digital on St. Patrick's Day. 

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