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Applebee’s introduces hand-cut steaks and wood-fired grills in effort to reinvent itself

In an effort to fight lackluster sales, restaurant chain Applebee’s has rolled out its largest advertising campaign in the company’s 36-year history in an effort to win over consumers with its new hand-cut steaks and wood-fired grills.

The campaign was created by Applebee’s agency of record, Kansas City-based Barkley. The agency won the account late last year, ending Applebee’s relationship with Crispin Porter & Bogusky.

When taking over the account, Barkley was tasked with reimagining the brand for the modern consumer to help Applebee’s get its mojo back. According to Applebee’s, the brand has taken a hit in recent years due to “shifting consumer tastes and public perceptions” that have “challenged its business performance.” Earlier this month, Applebee’s posted a same-store sales decline of 3.7 percent for its first quarter.

To change this, Barkley created a campaign called ‘Hand-Cut, Wood-Fire’ that focuses on the brand’s new USDA Choice hand-cut steaks, the primary focus of Applebee’s new “revamped and streamlined menu that elevates quality, flavor and freshness.” It also touts the wood-fired grills that will be installed in nearly 2,000 of its US restaurants.

The new steaks and grills are getting a lot of airtime in the brand’s latest campaign, which breaks tonight and will run on broadcast, cable, online and in movie theaters.

According to the brand, purchase and installation of the new grills along with a combined 60,000 hours of training for meat cutters represents an investment of more than $40m by Applebee’s franchisees.

Check out the spots below:

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