Max's Fried Chicken Welcomes Everyone Including Aliens In New Viral Commercial
It's easy to sell a commercial that tugs at the heartstrings. Everyone does it nowadays, as it's the easiest shot to virality on social media. But Max's has been there and done that, having touched everyone 14 years ago—in pre-hashtag 2004's Piolo Pascual commercial with then-unknown Isabel Oli, and its 2009 sequel. But Max's has always been a trailblazer even when it comes to their campaigns. Andrew Petch, executive director of Petch Worldwide which does Max's advertising, said it best " Max has the right to be a thought leader. So much so that not only do they not copy others, they don't even copy themselves."
After proving last year that the 73-year-old restaurant franchise could go beyond the usual model of restaurant advertising with the entertainingly trippy "The House That Fried Chicken Built," they've come up with yet another digital commercial that focuses on the company's pillars of family and inclusivity in the most fascinating way: through aliens.
The two-minuter, which was released on Facebook October 14 morning, chronicled a family of aliens landing in Manila. Chaos and terror ensue with the curious group finding refuge in the ever-welcoming Max's Restaurant. The commercial does more than sell chicken; it speaks of Max's impact, remarkable eye for detail, devotion to quality (the production and effects feel legit), and understanding of their audience and clientele.
"End alienation," says Jim T. Fuentebella, MGI's chief marketing officer. The story is both literal and metaphorical. "No one wants to be an alien. No one wants to be marginalized. It's like the show Cheers. You want to be in a place where people know your name."
Max's has quietly been shifting to advertising that is nontraditional, but which stays true to the Max's message. "You'll find all these commercials are so different from one another," says Petch. "But when you see them, you know that these are all very Max's."
"Max's will always have Piolo, Gary [Valenciano], Coco [Martin] as part of its history, and we're all proud of what we did during those times, but we recognize that to stay relevant, we need to look at ourselves in the mirror and look at the cold hard facts," explains Fuentebella.
"There is constant investment to make sure that what we do matters, from caring about our food to the farmers we cooperate with, to the sustainability," he adds. Fuentebella admits that they had to change their systems in order to keep up all these new life rules, even going as far as making their old manuals outdated. "We know that to be relevant, we really needed to change."
The commercial was directed by Joel Limchoc, who also directed last year's surreal "The House That Fried Chicken Built" ad.
To spread the message, Petch and his team went to the root of internet virality. "We know how much millennials love Easter eggs so we put them in there." The 10:18 p.m., for example, refers to October 18, the birthday of Fuentebella's lola who founded the restaurant. "Every time you rewatch the movie, you pick up new things," says Petch. The Francis M song. The welcome sign. The revolutionary statue.
The details were so important to Petch and Fuentebella that even the construction of the aliens were discussed to the last detail. "It had to look alien, but it also had to look original. We knew that what would make it seem real would be the movement." Fuentebella himself drew a sketch of the alien proportions, right down to their faces.
The commercial ends with no close-up of their famous chicken or pancit, but that itself speaks of Max's impact in the Filipino community. The food has been speaking for itself for over 70 years, after all, and they're in a position to send a more important message. "It's so confident," remarks Petch.
An alien-themed commercial for a chain of chicken restaurants. It seems unlikely that you'll tear up, but you probably will. Because no matter what you sell and how you sell it, emotion will always be at the heart of its effectivity, and that's what Max's does so well.