Nobody is going to miss Jon Stewart more than Arby’s is going to miss Jon Stewart.
Over the years, “The Daily Show” host said not-so-kind things about the roast beef sandwich chain in a somewhat inexplicable beef. “Arby’s! Isn’t there anywhere else we can eat,” he’s joked, and “Arby’s: Why not challenge your stomach to a fight.”
Stewart’s abusive relationship with Arby’s doesn’t have a source, leading some to some guesses that Arby’s is paying him to make fun of them. Yet, the consensus is that it’s simply a running joke on the Comedy Central show, because it’s Arby’s.
But with Stewart signing off tonight after 16 years hosting, the brand is squeezing it for one final greasy droplet of publicity. Arby’s bought a :30 second television spot — reportedly costing them $230,000 — on last night’s show to offer an olive branch and, well, squash the beef.
Set to a cover of “Golden Girls” theme song “Thank You for Being a Friend,” the spot highlights Stewart’s disses that were saltier than an Arby’s roast beef sandwich. “Not sure why,” the ad finishes, “but we’ll miss you.”
Normally, brands wedging themselves into the conversation draws ire from viewers. Not this time, however, with most of the comments on the video’s YouTube page complimenting Arby’s for using its cheeky salute.
“Way to take the high road and laugh with him. I always wondered what his beef was with you anyway!,” wrote one. Another added: “Marketing done right.”
An Arby’s spokesman said they aren’t surprised that it garnered positive publicity, telling Digiday that it “goes to show that if you keep your sense of humor, you can turn what could have been a negative situation into something positive and fun for the brand.”
Arby’s played coy if it has something more planned for tonight’s show saying we’ll have to watch to see. We doubt they can top this, though.
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