Friday-Night-Lights-Applebee'sFans of the recently finished series Friday Night Lights remember the show for its heartwarming depiction of a small Texas town, Dillon, in love with its high school football program. (For you non sports lovers, the series' name refers to the day and time football games are typically contested at the high school level).
True fans of the show also know it for the almost comically constant appearance of the Applebee's franchise, seemingly the only restaurant in town. To put it mildly, Applebee's is prevalent throughout the series.
How does a popular restaurant franchise find itself weaved into the storyline of big-time football in small-town Texas? Media agency Starcom worked out the product placement deal on behalf of Applebee's. Seeing the show in development before it aired, Starcom thought it was a perfect fit for the casual restaurant chain and worked out a deal with NBC for integration into the show before even discussing financial terms. Starcom felt the show would match Applebee's "Eating Good in the Neighborhood" branding. Prominent use of Applebee's and other product placement from companies such as Gatorade and Vasoline helped keep Friday Night Lights, a critical darling but never a smash commercial hit, on the air for five years.
We've cataloged five of FNL's most memorable Applebee's mentions below. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose!
1. Landry says, "Can you explain why every paragraph has to tie back into Applebee's?," asking fellow high schooler Tyra why every paragraph in her college essay mentions Applebee's, where she worked as a waitress for much of high school.
2. Julie says, "It's the car Mrs. Odmark's going to sell me when I make enough money working at Applebee's" to Matt, showing the vehicle she plans to buy when she's earned enough from waitressing.
3. " "Did they change this menu, or what?," Coach Eric Taylor asks his wife Tammi in the middle of an argument as they eat at -- you guessed it -- Applebee's after a game. For good measure, the franchise's logo is prominently shown before the scene begins.
4. "I work at Applebee's." - Julie says when Matt runs into her in the Applebee's parking lot. She wears her Applebee's nametag for the entire scene.
5. The booster meeting at Applebee's: Applebee's is showcased in the very second episode of the series when soon-to-be-scandal-racked booster Buddy Garrity is named "Booster of the Year."
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