new national law requiring restaurant chains with 20 or more locations to post the calorie content of their food, Applebee's has an interesting new marketing angle for their menu—the under 550 Calorie menu. While this not a new law for California and New York, or even a new direction for Applebee's, I like what they're doing and they're the first ones I've seen advertising a calorie specific menu.
Applebee's had (and maybe still has) a Weight Watcher's menu that also provided healthier choices, but if you weren't in Weight Watcher's it meant little. You basically assumed you were getting something healthier that what was on the rest of the menu. A calorie specific menu, however, is something everyone can relate to whether you're dieting or not. The menu items look pretty good too, even if the commercials don't.
I'm sure more marketing campaigns like this one will start appearing as we get closer to when the law goes into affect, but Applebee's is a full year ahead of the game. Unfortunately, as much as I like the marketing idea for a calorie specific menu, the actual campaign and creative leaves much to be desired. I expect chain restaurant commercials to have that all-too-familar uber-friendly, cheesy vibe the concepts behind these two commercials were just lame.
Regardless of the mediocre creative, I think Applebee's is on to something.