Does Arby’s Need A New Agency–Or A New Menu?

It was total randomness, but today at lunch I was driving around and spotted a place that I could eat and do some reading, because it was practically empty: Arby’s.
And as reported recently, like here in Business First of Columbus, Arby’s is looking for a new agency.

“We are deeply involved in analysis and consumer research that will result in the evolution of the Arby’s brand vision and positioning,” Arby’s President Hala Moddelmog said in a statement. “With that work nearly completed, this is a natural time to introduce fresh thinking in our brand positioning and brand messaging.”

Now, I love me some fast food, so I’m not here to hate on just another chain. But staring at the menu, and later at my Philly Beef n’ Swiss, it occurred to me that Arby’s may simply be worn out as a concept. Most of their menu is just their sliced roast beef (which is an oddity in itself) reconstituted in any number of variously named sandwiches. Now that sub shops like Quizno’s and places like Chipotle have expanded at the same price point, Arby’s doesn’t seem to have much to offer in the way of new, or different, or healthy.
So if you were pitching Arby’s, as some agencies will surely be doing over the next few months, what would you tell them? Is there hope for a ubiquitous brand that’s lost some luster? Does Arby’s have a problem that a new ad agency can solve?
I do like the curly fries, I must admit.



About Dan Goldgeier

Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. Dan is also a columnist for and the author of View From The Cheap Seats and Killer Executions and Scrubbed Decks.