Grey: Applebee’s From the Gutter to the Grammy's

Collage of social media posts from the Applebees "Fancy like" campaign

Grey: Applebee’s From the Gutter to the Grammy's

Transforming brand perception through music

Facing a brand perception problem that depicted Applebee’s as outdated and irrelevant, Grey embarked on a transformative journey to revitalise the brand's image and attract customers back to its restaurants. Recognising Applebee’s significant involvement in music – with the brand being the third largest music licenser in the US – Grey saw an opportunity to leverage this connection in a novel way.

The solution lay in creating original songs that resonated with contemporary culture, addressing societal trends and tapping into consumer emotions. For instance, to combat the Fear Of Dating Again, Grey and Applebee’s produced an original song encouraging people to choose their restaurants for dates. Similarly, they released songs addressing New Year’s diet resolutions, tailored to engage with specific consumer sentiments.

The pinnacle of this new approach was the release of “Fancy Like”, a feel-good summer anthem recorded by Walker Hayes featuring Kesha, in response to the insight that Americans were dealing with declining mental health and pessimism. This upbeat track resonated with audiences, garnering a 355% increase in social reach and 13 million organic views. The song's viral dance routine captivated social media, growing Applebee’s visibility and cultural relevance to an all-time high for the brand. Most impressively, “Fancy Like” earned a Grammy nomination for Best Country Song.

The transformative impact of the campaign extended to sales, with a remarkable 7.7% increase – the highest in the restaurant industry – and propelling Applebee’s to outperform competitors for 43 consecutive weeks.

By creatively leveraging music as a powerful vehicle for brand storytelling, Grey not only revitalised Applebee’s image but also opened the brand to new audiences. Through the campaign, Grey and Applebee’s orchestrated a remarkable journey from cultural obscurity to industry leadership, firmly establishing the brand as a force to be reckoned with in the competitive restaurant landscape.