Employing an amusing have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too tactic, Outback Steakhouse is running new ads from Mischief that play up—while also humorously undercutting—the chain’s recent triumph in a customer satisfaction survey.
Outback ranked No. 1 in the 2023 American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey for overall satisfaction, food and beverage quality and menu variety. This was surely exciting news for the chain.
But how to communicate that without looking braggy?
Having the basic sense to recognize that your brand is not at the center of any customer’s universe is always a good thing. This work acknowledges that in a fun way, particularly the part urging people to use #SoProudOfOutback (presumably sarcastically) in their social posts through Nov. 22 to get a free Bloomin’ Onion.
Undercutting marketing norms like this just makes the brand feel more fun, and the honesty will be more relatable to real people—who actually might care, just a little, about customer satisfaction data, but not to the degree most brands would assume.
“Outback topping a nationwide customer satisfaction list is something to celebrate for all who work there, but much like advertising awards, the general public just doesn’t care,” said James Leake, associate creative director at Mischief. “We wanted to be self-aware and honest about consumers’ apathy, so we said what everyone was thinking, then added in a tasteful bribe to motivate them to celebrate with us.”
“We don’t care that you don’t care that we won an award for caring about you—we still care anyway,” said Brett Patterson, president of Outback Steakhouse. “But just so you understand, the ACSI survey is a huge recognition in our industry and demonstrates our dedication to customer satisfaction, hospitality and menu innovation. It’s a big deal for us. And an even better deal for you, if you pretend to care.”
Mischief recently became Outback Steakhouse's creative agency of record, without a pitch. The two collaborated on a brand partnership with Netflix for “Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery” last year.