Nihilist Arby’s

Brand ambassador, Diarrhea advocate, Lawrence Arms co-frontman, Brenden Kelly

Brand ambassador, Diarrhea advocate, Lawrence Arms co-frontman, Brenden Kelly


People know almost nothing of the founder, the business, the roots, or the food at Arby’s, and literally no one seems to give a shit. Instead of attempting to weave some semblance of a narrative, Arby’s opted to go a more masochistic route. Last year (2018), Arby’s offered Chicago Punkrock co-frontman Brenden Kelly of the Chicago trio The Lawrence Arms an official writing job on their marketing team. In order to promote the gelatinous, wet, slimy, meat-like sandwiches, Arby’s found public approval in a new approach—nothingness.

Nihilist Arby’s Video Manifesto @

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Utter hopelessness has been the key to connecting with their modern demographics. Since Arby’s and its foods are bereft of riling even the most basic of emotional or qualitative responses, besides a flurry of shrugs generated from their previous slogan “It’s Good Mood Food”. Arby’s decided to lean into the wind of ambivalence and embrace their apathetic fence sitting crowd with dark humor about the hopelessness of existence, adding “Eat Arby’s” at the end of every delightfully crafted dark, train-wreck tweet.

The series did so well taking Brenden on board (or rather giving him full control of their social media ship), that they invited Brenden to sit on meetings, gifted him a card worth a lifetime of free Arby’s, and is responsible for revamping their entire organization’s online public relations effort. Take these greasy tweets for example:


There’s been a lot of talk about Burger King and their new piss meals or whatever but here’s the thing: Burger King is for losers, because there are no winners. This is hell. Eat Arby’s.” –May 2, 2019

Go ahead and tell your spouse you got syphilis from our booths if you think they’re stupid enough to buy it. Arby’s don’t judge. Arby’s don’t care. Eat Arby’s.”—April 24, 2019

Whew. That was a big weekend of pretending to care about dead soldiers. Glad we’re back to actively not giving a fuck about the ones who are still alive. Enjoy Arby’s” –May 28, 2019


            So next time you think you need to be ever so prim and proper, or conventional about reaching new customers and fans, just remember Arby’s: it’s a brave new world out there. Dark humor vastly outsells the fairy tale aesthetic promise of marketing that everything is going to be OK, (it’s not) and laughter is the quickest way to someone’s stomach.  Arby’s and the millions of people who frequent their restaurants with anonymity don’t mind it when you get morose. In fact, it’s clearly what they crave. It’s what Arby’s stopped doing that made them stand out: being boring on social media. Through the embrace of pain and enigmatic grit, Arby’s has unlocked a magical social pathway that allows the audience to drop their guard, laugh, connect, and actually be entertained by a fast food corporation, independent of how good or bad Arby’s actual food is. Because Arby’s social media entertainment fodder is on point, it makes you want to give their food a chance again because they’re real with how narrow the quality of their food is.

AV Club Arby’s Choke Down Race @

Arby’s tentative patrons are in on the joke. Nationally, Arby’s is treated like a punchline to a rough hand in life, compounded by speculative fast food habits. It’s salivating enough to make you hungry… almost enough to eat at Arby’s. Arby’s didn’t reinvent the wheel, they sure as shit are making it spin for themselves. So—Enjoy Arby’s! What’s your excuse besides trying to live?

What’s your brand have to say? What’s in the secret sauce? Can you craft the delivery of your message in darkness? Hell yes.

Tell it like it is— but either way, tell it.

-Matty D

Anti-advertising sells

Anti-advertising sells