September's advertiser of the month: Applebee’s (US)
October 8th, 2021, Hoang Nguyen

September's advertiser of the month: Applebee’s (US)

It’s been a good summer for Applebee’s and the popular American restaurant chain ended the season on a high note, literally. Applebee’s and several other brands such as Natural Light Beer, Oreo, Wendy’s and Maybelline shared a moment of cultural zeitgeist after Walker Haye’s country song “Fancy Like”– which mentioned the brands by name – went viral on TikTok recently.

According to YouGov BrandIndex, which tracks perceptions toward brands on a daily basis, Applebee’s Ad Awareness score jumped by nearly ten percentage points from 26% of Americans in late August to 35% by the end of September.

Covid-19 had a severe negative impact on the brand’s Ad Awareness but Applebee’s began its rebound in the early months of 2021. Applebee’s marketing efforts and success were especially notable at the beginning of summer and it was YouGov’s Advertiser of the Month in June. The popular restaurant chain built on this momentum and by the end of September, its Ad Awareness has returned to what it was before the pandemic.

Data from YouGov Profiles, an advanced audience intelligence tool, reveals that Americans who would consider ordering from Applebee’s belong to social media platforms such as Facebook (82%), Instagram (40%) and Pinterest (33%).

Just one in ten say they use TikTok (10%) though this is not surprising given that those who would consider eating at Applebee’s tend to skew older. This makes the cultural crossover between “Fancy Like” and brands such as Applebee’s all the more powerful. It shows that Applebee’s does have the potential to reach younger audiences – which it has had some struggle with in the past – where they are.

Marketing moments like this one also have the power to influence a brand’s actions and Applebee’s without missing a beat brought back the Oreo Shake – a cult favorite featured again and again in the chorus of Haye’s new country hit.

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Methodology: YouGov BrandIndex collects data on thousands of brands every day. Applebee’s Ad Awareness score is based on the question: Which of the following consumer brands have you seen an advertisement for in the past two weeks? and delivered as a percentage. Scores are based on the interviews of adults aged 18+ in the US between August 26 to September 26, 2021. Figures are based on a 4-week moving average.