Peer Review: Entrée Nous

Differentiation is the task of every brand, but it’s a major challenge in the world of casual dining, where overhead is enormous, margins razor-thin and competition ubiquitous. With all the mid-priced dinnerhouse chains out on the interstate, it gets pretty hard to tell one brand’s garlic mashed potatoes from another’s Mexican potato skins. Now, in theory, a TV commercial should help to solve that problem. But in the case of the latest series of ads from Carrabba’s Italian Grill, our guest reviewer was left scratching his head. Frank Compton, creative chief at Pittsburgh agency Bruner, points out that if every casual-dining chain in America is filling expensive airtime with mouthwatering food shots, why would a chain with money to spend (Carrabba’s is owned by Outback Steakhouse) pay for still more mouthwatering food shots? His review follows.