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Generic Copywriting at Outback

April 2nd, 2007 by Bob Bly

For some time now, Outback has been running a radio campaign, “Let’s Go Outback Tonight.”

It’s a jingle followed by voice-over narration about the food.

The narrator invites the listener to come to outback where “the chicken is moist and tender” and “the steak is thick and juicy.”

Now, I’ve never done any food writing.

But is it just me, or is describing a steak as “thick and juicy” as about as pedestrian and cliche as you can get?

Let’s say you were writing this radio spot. Can you think of a more enticing way to describe your steaks than “thick and juicy”?

Or your chicken than “moist and tender”?

Or do you think those descriptions are perfectly valid — and strong enough to get you to want to eat at Outback tonight?

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This entry was posted on Monday, April 2nd, 2007 at 7:24 am and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

267 responses about “Generic Copywriting at Outback”

  1. John Goodridge said:

    Two approaches spring to mind. First try to invoke the taste sense by description or analogy: Sweet and Buttery steak, for instance.

    If this doesn’t make you salivate, then maybe sell it on the benefits of filling up: Outback – feel fully satisfied

    Any takers?

  2. Stephen Dean said:

    The best way to ensure your message gets ignored is to tell them what they’d expect you to say… I’m getting Chinese food tonight.

  3. Michael Roach said:

    Ever since getting that restaurant assignment in the AWAI course, I’ve concluded that I may very well never write a successful sales letter describing food. It seems to require flowery language and cliches, neither of which appeal to me.

    Show me some good quality pictures of the food and I just might salivate. I doubt that words will ever do that for me.

  4. Suzanne Ryan said:

    I would love to do food writing, and food manufacturers are one of my key targets for prospecting.

    My sense is that this is bland, follow-the-pack writing that fails to set Outback apart from its competitors. I’ve never been there, so I don’t what their magic touch is.

    If they age their steaks, use special Australian rubbing spices, fire steak up on a salted grill….well, they should say so!

    Get specific!

    Otherwise….zzzzzzzzzz

  5. Michael A. Stelzner said:

    I really like eating at the Outback.

    Their latest commercials are lacking however.

    I would focus on the grilled aspect and maybe throw some searing sound in the background.

    Have you eaten there Bob?

    Mike

  6. Bob Bly said:

    Mike Stelzner: I enjoy the atmosphere at Outback and eat there because my family loves it. The wait is too long, and the portions are too large for me, as I am trying to eat smaller meals.

    Michael Roach: I believe words alone can make one salivate, and sell lots of restaurant meals, cookbooks, spices, cooking gear, and food related products. But like you, I don’t have a feel for it. To me, the worst writing job on the planet is writing restaurant reviews, where you have to find a zillion different ways to say a dish was “delicious” every working day. I’d go nuts.

  7. Steve Slaunwhite said:

    I once wrote restaurant promotions for American Express. (Long story.) I had to create my own dictionary of synonyms to describe tastes, smells and atmosphere. After a while, I couldn’t sit down at a restaurant without automatically thinking, “The enchanting old world decor sets the tone for a menu that’s bound to excite even the most discerning palate.” I had to quit that assignment before it drove me crazy.

  8. Bob Bly said:

    Steve: I’d have to kill myself. 🙂

  9. Jan Smith said:

    If I was writing for the ‘Outback’ I’d invoke the sensation of what the ‘outback’ really is. It’s a place of space, room to move. No one crowding you and lots of elbow room. A place where people look you in the eye and say “G’day!” because they are glad to see you.

    I’d mention that the steaks were hopping and the chicken was ready for the chopping.

    Then I’d mention the spices used as being ‘heaven scent’ from under the southern cross. A mixture of intangibles and challenged them to identify which ones they resembled most from the US. The winner’s prize another night for two to have another go at ‘spice guessing’ on another night.

    The Chicken could be descibed as a tasty Aussie bird garnished with love to perfection; nurtured and nourished just for the US selection.

    But then again, I’m an Aussie and a foodaholic ~ not to mention just a bit biased.

    Jan

  10. Michael A. Stelzner said:

    Bob – Try call ahead seating. That is what we do.

    On another note, you need to install the plugin that emails people when new comments are added.

    See http://txfx.net/code/wordpress/subscribe-to-comments/

    Mike

  11. Carolina Event Planning said:

    I remember back in copywriting class when my professor implored us to “paint a picture with our words.” I could see my professor’s face when I read your comments about Outback.

    Ed

  12. Karyn Bedeker said:

    My long run in laws!!! They come up with a cute few never they?!?!?

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