Applebee’s has a new advertisement on the air showing a bunch of guys eating at one of their restaurants. Somebody asks what they are ordering and three of the guys respond with typical guy choices like ribs or steak. The last guy announces he’s having one of the new 550 calorie meals. There’s an uncomfortable moment of silence, then everyone laughs and the good times ensue.
Here’s the thing. I think Applebee’s wants you to believe that the laughter after the silence means all the guys are cool with their friend making a low-cal choice. But at this point in the commercial, I interpreted the situation as the last guy just yanking everyone’s chain. To me, the laughter is basically saying, “Yeah, I was kidding. I’ll have the wings and a side of loaded nachos.”
But no. In the last few seconds we see diet man enjoying his lite lunch and not only are his buds cool with it, they appear envious of his choice. This would not happen in the real world. This is a violation of guy-code and his friends would be obligated to ridicule and cajole the calorie conscious friend and possibly insist he pick up the check.
That’s not to say the guy couldn’t get away with not stuffing his pie hole while with his buddies. There’s always the possibility he had drinks and nibbles with his lady after work before meeting up with the guys and just isn’t that hungry. Maybe the Asiago Peppercorn Steak just looked good. No harm, no foul. But he would not, under any circumstances, announce to the group that yhe’s ordering a meal based on its low calorie count. Not unless he secretly longed to have his underwear pulled up over his head.
On the one hand, kudos to Applebee’s for tying to create healthier choices that appeal more to men. Especially since we are genetically incapable of ordering a salad with vinaigrette dressing on the side. They could maybe show a couple, where the woman is so proud of her man for not ordering the smothered chicken and cheese fries. But do not try to imply that guys night out is going to become limited to lite beer and diet entrees. Especially as we age, we increasingly find ourselves less able to treat our bodies like the toxic waste dumps we used them for in our youth. We will tell this to our ladies while cuddled on the couch watching NCIS. But dammit, we are not going to start admitting that to one another. Not gonna happen.
Oh, and just to be clear… this is still your target demographic.