There certainly isn’t a shortage of corporate gimmicks these days. Less than a week after the ESPY Awards aired, including a parody of the LeBron James special, “The Decision,” featuring Steve Carell telling Paul Rudd his decision to no longer eat at Chili’s, the chain has launched a full-fledged publicity campaign related to the event. In the spoof, Carell tells Rudd that he has decided to take his appetite away from Chili’s, namely to the Outback Steakhouse. A press release issued by Chili’s purports to call out Carell for his statement, going as far as to say:
Steve Carell’s shameful display of selfishness and betrayal has shifted our “motivation” to previously unknown and previously never experienced levels. His heartless and callous actions will only fuel our constant search for freshness and flavor.
Is this for real?
In short, no. In an open letter on the chain’s website, Chili’s tells its customers:
You simply don’t deserve this kind of cowardly betrayal. You have given so much and deserve so much more.
Please. The whole thing reeks so much of publicity stuntery that one must wonder if Carell wasn’t in on it and is now collecting some cajillion-dollar check for being the pretend bad guy in this episode. We’re just waiting for the Carell-returns-to-Chili’s punch line.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 19, 2010