Arby’s Swings and Misses With “Sliced Up Fresh” Campaign

It’s easy to understand that most fast food isn’t going to be local; the sheer volume of food needed, and the price at which it’s sold requires concentrated operations from vegetables to animals to people. Arby’s apparently decided to dip their beak (pun intended) into the locavore craze…by highlighting the fact that their meat is sliced locally, that is, at the store, instead of “in a factory, far, far away.” Star Wars reference? I don’t know, but this needs to be seen for what it is: a desperate attempt by the fast food giant to cling to customers in age of healthier, meatless eating.

Arby’s claims they’re “slicing up the truth about freshness,” and their new logo attests to that. Design Shack has a good run down of the choices behind the new 3D hat and type face, along with the overall branding of the website and mobile apps. It looks fine, sure, but really: locally sliced meat? I mean, what’s next, locally flipped burgers? Ketchup squeezed in-house? What Arby’s chooses to gloss over, of course, is the confinement, slaughter, and consequent cruelty that these birds (and other animals) suffer. Turkey CAFOs are no pleasant place. A factory far, far away? How about a factory farm, far, far away?

Again, consider what’s not being addressed: the turkeys that are being “sliced up fresh” are fattened up using crops that could be fed to humans, in a cruel, ineffecient, wasteful process all across the United States, that these turkeys are transported, slaughtered, and processed (but not sliced!) in factories in states like Iowa (oh no!) or other agricultural regions. In fact, all the gruesome, gory stuff takes place so out-of-sight-out-of-mind for the consumer that seeing the meat sliced in-store might even freak them out a little bit! As one who doesn’t patronize Arby’s, I have no idea. Consider what would happen if Arby’s had its workers do more than just the slicing on an in-store level in the quest for “freshness:”

Probably wouldn’t turn out so well, even with a cool 3D hat. And yes, that is a real turkey slaughter picture, as evidenced by this Esquire article. For those looking to find more “humanely” sourced turkeys for your Thanksgiving dinner, well, think again.

Note: Even Iowans weren’t cool with the origin TV spot that Arby’s choose, as they tried to expose the “distance” between Iowa processing plants and the sandwich chains’ stores.

Photos: Esquire Magazine, Youth Voices