Chili’s grills kids about life in darkly funny Chicken Crispers ads from Mischief

Just because they’re usually on the children’s menu doesn’t mean children really deserve them

Published On
Sep 21, 2023
A girl smiling during a mock interview with a Chili's exec

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Why should children get all the comfort food when adults are the ones who really need comforting?

That’s the amusing premise behind Mischief’s new campaign for Chili’s, focused on its Chicken Crispers menu item. Chicken Crispers are basically chicken tenders, a dish usually relegated to the kids’ menu. But Chili’s Chicken Crispers are a larger-size, adult-targeted version, and the new spots play off the question of who deserves them more—children or adults.

The spots feature a deadpan Chili’s interviewer asking kids questions about their lives—passively aggressively insinuating that their carefree existence doesn’t earn them food like Chicken Crispers. 

This first spot, for example, touches on adult stresses like finances, insomnia and lack of vacation time.


“We found ourselves kind of annoyed that kids get all of the good things when they don’t have to deal with any of the bad things,” said Dana Buckhorn and Tanner Thompson, associate creative directors at Mischief. “Kids don’t have pushy mothers-in-law. They’ve never spent an hour reading reviews of compression socks. They don’t unfailingly receive artisan bars of soap for their birthday. And yet they get to order the Chicken Crispers while we’re expected to order a pile of wet leaves.” 

This second spot also leans heavily into financial worries, as well as the burdens of business travel.


“With our Chicken Crisper Combos, we took all the favorite bites a parent sneaks from their kids’ meal and turned them into an adult-sized meal,” said Jesse Johnson, VP of marketing at Chili’s. “We’re telling adults they don’t just deserve Chicken Crispers…but they deserve them even more than kids do.”

Along with the amusing narrative, the spots also don’t skimp on the product shots—with good-looking close-ups in every execution.

Here are two :15s to round out the flight:


Mischief has done a number of projects for Chili’s this year, including spots with R&B star Brian McKnight as a singing waiter and a stunt (inspired by real events) that offered free catering to the first three couples to propose at at a Chili’s restaurant.

Chili’s Chicken Crispers are available in Original, Nashville Hot and Honey Chipotle and served with white cheddar mac, fries, two dipping sauces and house-made ranch when ordered as a combo.


Sep 21, 2023
Client :
Agency :
George Felix
VP Marketing :
Jesse Johnson
Director of Digital Advertising :
Luz Bickert
Director of Marketing :
Laura Sheely
Associate Social Media Manager :
Jack Hailey
Sr. PR Manager & Content Strategist :
Melissa Corum
PR Manager :
Jake Young
Greg Hahn
Co-Founder & Partner :
Greg Hahn
President & Partner :
Kerry McKibbin
Head of Strategy & Partner :
Jeff McCrory
ECD & Partner :
Bianca Guimaraes
ECD & Partner :
Kevin Mulroy
Associate Creative Director :
Dana Buckthorn
Associate Creative Director :
Tanner Thompson
EVP Head of Production :
Will Dempster
Executive Producer :
Amy Wertheimer
Managing Director :
Tyler Harris
Account Director :
Diana Baran
Account Executive :
Ariana Revelas
PR :
Senior Vice President :
Jessica Barrutia
EVP Earned Lead :
Erin Delahanty
Vice President :
Janice Cornell
Media Agency :
Dentsu X
EVP Managing Director :
Lauren Johnson
VP Integrated Planning :
Derrick Chen
Associate Director Integrated Planning :
Sarah O'Brien
Senior Manager Integrated Planning :
Marianne Aurelio
Associate Integrated Planning :
Yessica Manrique
Associate Director Digital :
Cristen Edler
Associate Director Paid Social :
Dylan O'Bannion
VP National Video Investment :
Deb Sher
Associate Director Paid Search :
Brian Gorman
Production Company :
Hungry Man
Director :
Hank Perlman
Executive Producer/Managing Partner :
Caleb Dewart
Head of Production :
Franchesca McDowell
Producer :
Matt O'Shea
Production Supervisor :
Tristan Marciano
Production Company :
Trevor TV
Director :
Trevor Shepard
Executive Producer :
Ursula Camack
Food Stylist :
Maelle de Schutter
Food Stylist :
Lauren Anderson
Editorial :
Mack Cut
EP :
Gina Pagano
Editor :
Dave Koza
Editor :
Danielle Minch
Assistant Editor :
Cassi Waciega
Producer :
Kayla Robinson
Flame Artist :
Jim Hayhow
Color :
Company 3
Colorist :
Tim Masick
Audio Mix & Sound Design :
Heard City
Audio Engineer :
Phil Loeb
Audio Engineer/Sound Designer :
Evan Mangiamele
Managing Partner :
Gloria Pitagorsky
Music :
Senior Producer :
Dottie Scharr
Producer :
Samantha Zirin
Music :
Singing Serpent
Executive Producer :
Dennis Culp
VO Casting :
Janet Eisenberg

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