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Arby’s Forgets Advertising Deal With Pepsi, Makes Apology Ad Entirely About Pepsi

As part of an agreement to serve Pepsi products in its restaurants, fast food chain Arby’s is obligated to feature the soda in at least two television advertisements every year. But this year, Arby’s forgot.

As the company focused on a relaunch around a new tag-line, “We have the meats,” the contract with Pepsi simply slipped everybody’s minds, according to Rob Lynch, chief marketing officer and brand president of Arby’s. Mr. Lynch says the company’s 2014 TV spots have been more focused on that meaty message as opposed to more conventional spots that promote menu items — standard ads where a tall glass of Pepsi fits easily next to a sandwich.

In early October, Pepsi reached out to Arby’s with a friendly reminder: You need to include us in one more ad this year. The problem was that Arby’s already had its end-of-the-year creative ready to go — and it didn’t include Pepsi.

So Mr. Lynch had to go back to the team at Fallon, a Minneapolis-based ad firm owned by Publicis that handles creative for Arby’s.

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