Somewhere during 43 years of being an American icon, Chili's had lost it's way. The beloved brand was losing credibility and the menu had ballooned to epic proportions. In trying to appeal to everyone, somehow things like FreshMex Bowls, Mango Tilapia and Flatbreads had found a home in restaurant.
So Chili’s made a bold decision to slash the menu by 40% to get back to focusing on what they do best – burgers, ribs, fajitas and margaritas. But that meant that a lot of guests were going to be upset when menu items they loved were no longer available. Fact & Fiction was asked to use social as the lead channel to share with guests what the heck was going away.
While goodbyes are never easy, sometimes they can be funny. In order to ease the pain around losing some beloved menu items, we wanted to make people laugh and appreciate that Chili's was focusing on what they do best. Using a social-first strategy, we concepted 12 different ways to send off some of the food we were cutting from the menu in a glorious tribute. We didn't want to degrade or destroy the food, so we pulled inspiration from movies, pop-culture, and classic dating tropes to release our once-loved entrees back into the world.
And as a peace offering, we shared 23 of our secret recipes so that anyone could make the now gone favorite items at home. We made step-by-step videos explaining the builds and released full recipes across social and created a limited edition "cookbook" so these dishes could live on forever. Just not at our restaurant.
While guests, fans and even team members didn't agree with every item going away, at the end of the day we believe that Chili's made the right move to find and focus on what they do best. So, after sharing what was going away, it was time to put a stake in the ground to welcome guests back to the new, improved and focused Chili's.
So we announced to the world, once again leading with social, what to expect from Chili's moving forward.
Our holistic approach put Chili's at the forefront of national conversation, delivering nearly 800 million impressions across traditional and social media over a two week period. We also ignited brand engagement, doubling our standard engagement rate and showing indicators of high-value and viral content with viewers watching our videos multiple times and sharing at rates we hadn't seen before. Chili's owned share of voice among competitors, with people talking about the renewed focus on better than ever burgers, ribs and fajitas. But most importantly, by finding the line between humor and introspection, we gave an apathetic public a reason to care about (and try) the new Chili's.
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