News & Views
The 13 hour ad

In an advertising industry which is currently obsessed with how to best tell a brand story in as little time as possible, fast food chain Arby’s has gone in a different direction.

In order to back up their claims that the recipe for their limited edition Smokehouse Brisket Sandwich includes meat that has been cooked for thirteen hours, Arby’s has created a thirteen hour long video placement to prove just that. The minimalist footage contains absolutely no dialogue, and simply shows the brisket being smoked for half a day.

The ad aired on a single US television station on Saturday 24th May, in Duluth, Minnesota, followed by a thirteen hour livestream between 9am and 10pm Eastern time on Wednesday 28th. The entire production cost in the region of $250,000, according to The New York Times.

“Drama is in the eye of the beholder,” says Matt Heath, the creative director at who oversaw filming. “Even the smallest little things to us were the coolest things ever. When it got to the point where it started dripping and you could hear the sizzle of the brisket as the juices were dripping out of it, that was very entertaining.”

“The real question behind a PR stunt is whether there is any value in it after it’s over,” counters Peter Shankman, author of ‘Can We Do That?!’, a book on outrageous publicity campaigns. “I don’t know how much this accomplishes that… But as long as they’re not relying on it dramatically changing the world for them, why not? It’s fun.”

Arby’s first introduced the sandwich late last year, and it has been officially declared the company’s most successful promotion. This latest campaign has attained the Guinness World Record for longest television commercial, beating Nivea’s hour long spot from 2011.

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