Arby’s Is Airing 13 Straight Hours of Smoked Brisket on TV

A blog about business and economics.
May 23 2014 5:56 PM

Arby’s Is Airing 13 Straight Hours of Smoked Brisket on Television

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Get ready for the main brisket event.

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Forget the Yule Log. How would you like to see 13 straight hours of meat on film? If that sounds up your alley, then Arby's has you covered, thanks to a TV ad it will be airing this weekend to promote a new sandwich mounded with brisket cooked for—you guessed it—13 hours. The New York Times reports that the commercial is free of talking and consists of a single take of the brisket cooking away through the glass window of a smoker.

The promotion is expected to earn Arby's a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records and blow past the existing entry for longest television commercial—a paltry 60-minute affair put on by Nivea in 2011.* The entire effort will cost about $250,000, according to the Times, which is a fraction of the $94.7 million Arby's spent on U.S. advertising in 2013. All in all, the stunt sounds like a pretty good deal for Arby's, especially if it takes off on social media as the company hopes. (We realize we are part of the problem. But it's Friday. Would you really rather be reading about Piketty?)

Arby's has arranged for the commercial to air on a single television station in Duluth, Minnesota. The action starts at 1 p.m. Central time on Saturday and ends at 2 a.m. CT on Sunday, with an Arby's exec removing the brisket from its smoker and slicing the meat for a sandwich. It will also play in a onetime livestream of the event from 9 a.m. until 10 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday. The takeaway is that if you live in Duluth and come home drunk and hungry on Saturday night, you'll have a big hunk of meat to stare at.

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*Correction, May 27, 2014: This post originally misspelled the title of the Guinness Book of World Records.

Alison Griswold is a Slate staff writer covering business and economics.

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