Chili's 40 for 40

Becoming one of America’s great brands is one thing. Telling the long, complicated story of “how” is something else entirely. So Chili’s asked us to find a way to pack 40 years of history, education and vision into a video that would inspire and engage audiences.


The most obvious solution (and the one the client requested) was a documentary. But as we tossed around our own favorite Chili’s stories, we realized that history isn’t remembered linearly, and there was no reason our video should tell a linear history of Chili’s 40 years, either. The idea? Instead of creating one long film we’d create 40 shorts, each about a pivotal moment in the history of Chili’s. We’d then arrange the stories based on emotional impact and stitch them into one long piece to keep viewers engaged from start to finish.  In addition, we’d have 40 individual assets to use across Chili’s entire ecosystem.

Did you know

Chili's has over 60,000 employees worldwide.

We only had two months to create all 40 videos, but our vision and relationship gave our client the trust for us to take on the impossible.  We researched and compiled our favorite Chili’s moments and then worked with Chili’s leadership to choose the top 40 stories to tell.  In parallel, we assembled a team of editors and documentarians that could bring each individual moment to life. We traveled to Dallas to film interviews with the CEO, CFO and prior leaders. We traveled back in time through hundreds of hours of archival footage and we scoured the world to find the right animation styles to bring the most venerated moments in the brand’s history to life.

From the bottom of our hearts—THANK YOU! Thanks for pushing when we needed pushing, for advising when we went astray, and for achieving what we literally thought was impossible. Thank you for your hard work and long hours—it comes across on film so beautifully. We heard it all today…from “I never knew that story” to “I cried four times” to “That is some amazing history—how lucky are we?”


Thanks just doesn’t do it justice—we are so freaking excited to share this with the world.

Chris Ebbeler
Director of Workplace Community, Brinker


“40 Years in 40 Stories” debuted to over 2,000 people in a plush theater at Chili’s 2016 General Manager 40th Anniversary Conference. There were tears. There was laughter. There was a standing ovation. And thanks to our innovative approach, Chili’s has been able to pull out individual stories and use them as social media assets, public relations pieces, and on-boarding for new associates.

What's important about this case study?

We work hard to understand the culture, mission and vision of our client partners.  There aren’t many stories more important than those of what defines a brand, and we’re honored that our deep care and understanding of what makes brands tick allows us to tell authentic stories in a meaningful way.

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