In a recent television ad, a man bashed a Tiffany lamp with a sledgehammer, then said "Imagine that, times a zillion." The commercial prompted viewers to "watch us blow up the last old Ruby Tuesday LIVE!" The demolition aired on Ruby Tuesday's Web site yesterday at 3 p.m. EST, only -- oops! -- those crazy construction workers destroyed a Cheeky's Bar and Grill instead. Or so a string of incredulous YouTube posts, suspiciously stemming mostly from people who just signed up for accounts, would have you believe. A skeptic, marooned in the intellectual swamplands of YouTube feedback, pointed out that "Cheeky's Bar and Grill" doesn't exist, and that the RT franchise owns no restaurants in Mount Holly, Ohio, the alleged blast site. But mere facts couldn't dissuade YouTube commenters from writing "haha EPIC FAIL" and "WTF Wrong Building LMFAO."
On Ruby Tuesday's home page, "Jim Robbins, senior VP of marketing" delivers a sober apology to Cheeky's Bar and Grill. (Amusingly, this video convinced some of the more guileless YouTubers of the stunt's legitimacy.) An accompanying letter delivers the punchline: "It is extremely unlikely that a Ruby Tuesday restaurant will ever be confused for any other casual dining establishment again." Basically, the forgotten chain confesses "we became so generic that we were completely interchangeable with our competition, but wait, we're changing now!"
Ruby Tuesday's viral gimmick raised the restaurant's profile, temporarily rescuing it from apathetic obscurity and providing its cobwebbed site with its first few hits. However, it's unclear whether this renewed recognition of the company's existence will lead to consumers trusting an admittedly, if repentantly, bland eatery with "upscale" menu fare, even if Ruby Tuesday sweetens the deal with "soft, abundant napkins" and "new server uniforms."