Applebee’s spices up date night with lip gloss line, ‘dateable’ music video

    • Applebee’s has partnered with makeup and skincare brand Winky Lux to launch Saucy Gloss, a collection of wing sauce-inspired lip glosses. The campaign is timed to National Wing Day and National Lipstick Day, both celebrated today (July 29), per details shared with Marketing Dive.
    • As part of the campaign, Applebee’s has released an original song and music video titled “Taste My Face.” Billed as the first “dateable” music video, the clip includes the Instagram handles of the all-single cast. The song will also live as a sound on TikTok.
    • The lip glosses are available via Winky Lux’s website for $18 each or $65 for the set. The cross-category merchandise collaboration and original music video are efforts by Applebee’s to engage with younger consumers.

    Applebee’s latest campaign is a playful attempt to tie into current trends with menu-inspired products — made in collaboration with upstart beauty brand Winky Lux — and a musical activation. The effort expands upon two things the brand is known for, according to CMO Joel Yashinsky: wings and first dates.

    The Saucy Gloss line, which come in flavors Get Me Hot Buffalo, Sweet Chile Kiss, Be My Honey Pepper and Honey BBQ-T, mimic the look of the chain’s wing sauces. Branded merchandise has long been a staple of marketer playbooks, with cross-category collaborations allowing brands to reach each other’s consumer bases. Similarly, E.l.f. Cosmetics and Chipotle Mexican Grill last year teamed up to offer a limited-time menu item and a makeup collection inspired by the chain’s burrito ingredients.

    To boost the lip gloss offering, Applebee’s has dipped into branded music, releasing a clubby electro-pop song entitled “Taste My Face” that has a music video directed by Hannah Lux Davis. Davis is a well-known music video director who has crafted clips for the biggest names in pop music, including Ariana Grande, Miley Cyrus and Nicki Minaj, giving the video a sheen of pop authenticity.

    Applebee’s is billing “Taste My Face” as the first “dateable” music video, as it includes the Instagram handles of its all-single cast, potentially expanding the reach of the campaign on social media as fans attempt to connect with the video’s stars. The chain will also make “Taste My Face” available as a sound on TikTok. The brand last year was a key part of a song, Walker Hayes’ “Fancy Like,” that went viral on the platform. This musical effort looks to build on the chain’s success on the platform, although creating viral lightning is tougher than capturing it in a bottle.

    Grey Global Group served as the creative agency of record on the campaign, with Initiative as the media agency of record and Current Global handling PR. “Taste My Face” was written by Grey’s creative team and lead by associate creative director Talia Rapp.

    The Saucy Gloss line and “Taste My Face” follow a more down-to-earth campaign that Applebee’s unveiled earlier this year. “Here’s to The Regulars” highlighted real-life regular customers in a series of ads that were set to the iconic theme from classic sitcom “Cheers.”


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