Chili's Unhinged Pepper Mascot Is ... Hawt?

Gotta love that loud, needy freak

Perhaps you thought Tarty—the supersized toaster pastry that co-starred with Jerry Seinfeld in his Pop-Tarts commercial—was adland's mascot of the week.

Well, think again. Because here comes Chili's big-ass, cry-baby pepper.

Decidedly red in the face and rocking a massive mustache, dude's got the worst attitude. The thing begs and whines to be part of the chain's new campaign, tossing off lines from the eatery's baby back ribs song

Alas, he's left, quite literally, on the outside looking in.

Chili's | No Mascot

Is there a therapist in the house?

Our brain cells died oh so satisfied watching that broad branded stupidity from Mischief @ No Fixed Address.

Elsewhere, sans mascot, Chili's gets up in McDonald's grill with spots from Jon Marshall & Daughters:

Chili's | Name Change

The campaign sells a simple menu/pricing message with twisted, peppy panache. It's memorable and seamlessly on brand.

Best of all: the mascot's a self-centered, neurotic loud-mouthed mess. Make a pull-string version that plays his cray take on the jingle. It'll sell out fast!

Expert puppeteers at Steffx Studio designed the lumpy grump, and it took four technicians working together to make him move.

"Credit to the Chilis team. When we first showed them this monster they said, 'Can you make his teeth worse?'" recalls Mischief group creative director Ross Fletcher.

The notion to have the chili pepper riff on the baby back ribs song developed on set.

"We thought it conveyed his desire to be the Chili's mascot," says Howard Finkelstein, also an agency GCD. "And it really made us laugh."

He adds: "The real hero is the actor who had to spend a whole day inside the suit. I caught a whiff in there. It did not smell good."

Like the headline says: That pepper's hawt!

And this might be Mischief's most memorably bizarre character—which is really saying something. Past doozies (all of the animal variety) include Outback's creepy Xmas koala; Eos' foxes that wear people; FanDuel's existential chickens; and Tubi' weird, award-winning Super Bowl bunnies.

David Gianatasio
David Gianatasio is managing editor at Clio Awards.

Advertise With Us

Featured Clio Award Winner



The best in creativity delivered to your inbox every morning.