We're Sorry We Sucked And We Still Sorta Do

Friendly's dropped the ball with advertising.  Here's how you can avoid it.

A look at how the best ice cream joint in New England recognized their failure...apologized for it...then made it worse.

Two summers ago, Friendly's restaurants - a chain based here in New England and known for their great ice cream and KILLER peanut butter sauce - launched a new campaign.

They ran a series of radio ads - no doubt spending gobs of money - to tell people they had screwed up.

They talked about how over the years, they'd lost their way...and let the service slip.

They asked people to come back and give them another chance.

But they made a mistake.  They were all talk.

We've gone back countless times - but not because of their marketing.  We've gone back because their peanut butter sauce is like crystal meth.

They talked the talk...but didn't walk the walk.  Since those commercials ran, the service (as supported by many reviews) seems to have gotten worse.  Exponentially worse.

That would be a marketing fail.  If you're going to run a campaign like that, you'd damn well better have a system in place to make sure your service is much, much better.

Perhaps they should have taken an approach sort of like this:

"Here at Friendly's, we know our service sucks.  What do you expect when the average tip on the tab for a family of four is $2?  But quit your complaining.  We know we've got the best ice cream ever.  Isn't that enough?  Where else can you feed your whining, spoiled brats and both parents for under $20 and let them launch waffle cones filled with fudge across the restaurant?  So cut us some slack.  Eat your ice cream and shut up about the service.  Another chain once said - "when you're here, you're family".  But this family wants you to quit your complaining...unless you want to help with the dishes."

If you're going to launch a marketing campaign...you'd better live it and breathe it.  If not...don't bother.

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Kyle Reyes is the President and Creative Director of The Silent Partner Marketing, New England's #1 Marketing Agency. We're a boutique marketing firm focused on helping businesses grow in an age of exploding technology. You can find him on Google+Facebook and Twitter. And yes - he wants to connect with you on LinkedIn, so send him a request!