Cannes Lions

Smoked Sweats

FALLON, Minneapolis / ARBY'S / 2022

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We were tasked with launching Arby’s limited-time Real Country Style Rib Sandwich featuring Texas pit-smoked pork rib, smoked low and slow for eight hours at the legendary Sadler’s Smokehouse in East Texas. Working with a limited budget, the goal was to raise awareness for the sandwich through an activation that would drive PR coverage and social conversation.


The greatest BBQ pitmasters around the world know that after 8 hours of carefully smoking pork ribs over hickory, you are left with 2 things: delicious meat, and hickory-scented clothing from sitting next to the smoker all day. For the launch of the new Real Country Style Rib Sandwich, Arby’s combined these two insights by releasing a capsule sweatsuit collection where each garment was smoked for hours over real hickory wood, in the same East Texas smokehouse where Arby’s ribs were smoked. Arby’s released the Smoked Sweats on their social channels for followers to shop, and all pieces sold out in under 6 minutes.


Arby’s partnered with Stateline, an NYC-based athleisure brand, to create the made-in-USA sweat suits. Each piece was designed with a tastefully-placed and embroidered Arby’s “A” on the sleeve. The pieces were a custom, garment-dyed burgundy—a nod to both Arby’s Signature Smokey Q Sauce as well as the traditional pitmaster’s uniform color of choice, as it hides stains from daily meat smoking tasks the best. Each limited-edition garment was smoked over real hickory wood by a pitmaster at Sadler’s, the third-generation Texas smokehouse that smokes Arby’s brisket and ribs. The sweatsuits were certified authentic with a handwritten label from the pit-master, and vacuum-sealed to lock in the smokey goodness.

Arby’s teased the first drop of limited-edition SmokedSweats to a list of media, influencers, and celebrity friends of Arby’s for them to unbox and model on social media. Once the sweats dropped on our microsite, we sold out in 6 minutes.


Where there’s smoked sweats, there’s fire. Awareness of Arby’s new Real Country-Style Rib Sandwich and the limited-edition sweats spread across all media channels amassing 680+ million total earned impressions. Photos of the sweats and organic discussion from people asking questions like, “Would you wear these intentionally-smoke-scented sweats?” led to 10,000+ mentions on social media. The sweats had two e-commerce releases on, selling out in under 6 minutes both times. Even some savvy resellers posted the sweats for sale on eBay for up to $1,000.00 USD.

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