Steven Neville from Examiner.com first broke the story about the experimental social media campaign Applebee’s was doing.  It also appeared everywhere from My Little Pony websites, to blogs, local TV and now the director and social media strategist are on live TV tonight.

According to the hashtag tracker, the #SpiritedChef hashtag reached the 3,000,000 person milestone last week on Twitter.  The videos have over a quarter million views already and animated GIFs of these crazy tricks are starting to appear around the internet.

Applebee's - Spirited Chef - Animated GIF

Applebee's - Spirited Chef - Blind Makeup Challenge

In a very risky move for a multi-billion dollar business with 1600+ locations, Applebee’s invited people to suggest tricks using the #SpiritedChef hashtag and then help direct it on a live video stream during filming.   Typically big brands avoid messy situations like this.  Since Christian Delpech was juggling knives and breakable glass, this could have been a serious PR nightmare.  Luckily nothing bloody happened, but at one point Christian was temporarily blinded in one eye from a nerf gun bullet to the eyeball.

This just shows that Applebee’s gets it.  They understand that marketing has become more authentic and transparent and by inviting the fans into the process they’ve given ownership of it to the people that matter most.

It all started with the first video in early December:

Best Video Ever by Fans (Original)


Applebee’s launched the sequel just in time for Christmas and featured an “Elf on a Shelf” doing crazy stunts like riding a wrecking ball into a series of six shot glasses and hanging from a giant candy cane while Christian Delpech juggled it.

Best Video Ever by Fans – The Sequel

 

150+ Other Videos and Responses

In addition to the original #SpiritedChef video and the sequel, they also put out 150+ other video responses, many of which were personal and made many Applebee’s fans feel special.

The Rise of the Bronies

One of the more interesting facets of this campaign was how the niche communities got involved.  Fans of One Direction, Corey Pieper, Minecraft, and even My Little Ponies were a big part of this.

 

It was truly an amazing campaign to be a part of.  Applebee’s has truly changed social media and we look forward to seeing more stuff like this from other big brands that finally shed their fears of a new way to communicate (social media) and embrace their fans in a personal and fun manner.

If you want to join in the fun, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

As always, thanks for your attention!

– Aaron @Biebert and the Attention Era Media crew

PS. If you love video, social media, marketing, or business leadership, please subscribe to our blog for free.

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