Ribs & B: Boyz II Men Harmonize Their Way To A Hit For Chili’s


Chili's Boyz 30s


The R in R&B stands for “Ribs” in Chili’s latest ad, the newest in a series of commercials in which singing superstars are paired with the Chili’s menu in charming ads which delight and entertain audiences. Last time out it was Brian McKnight, this time Boyz II Men show up to sing the brand’s classic “Baby Back Ribs” jingle. It’s an earworm – you have been warned!

This is an idea with layers of history and cultural references. Boyz II Men were 90s icons and the Baby Back Ribs jingle was a smash hit for Chili’s. The original ad was so popular and catchy that rumor had it the commercial was secretly sung by Boyz II Men in the first place!

It wasn’t true – but the new ad, created with agency Mischief, shows they’d have done a great job. With a concept bringing in so many references, and with a famously catchy jingle, the ad doesn’t really need to bring in much in the way of storyline – but there is a nice joke at the end to serve as a punchline and trigger the “peak end” effect. (The peak moment and the ending are the two things most people remember, so always make sure to end strong).

The Chili’s ad is a major hit – on our Test Your Ad (TYA) platform it scores an Exceptional 5.2-Star Rating. What’s more, it achieves the rare ‘TYA Triple’: it gets Exceptional scores not just on Star Rating, which predicts potential to contribute to long-term growth, but on Spike Rating, which predicts short-term sales impact, and on Brand Fluency too, which indicates brand recognition.

We can look to Test Your Ad Pro to explore exactly why the ad scores so well. The average ad makes 41% of viewers feel happy – Chili’s hits an impressive 67%, with amusement, excitement, and uplifting feelings the main types of happiness triggered by the ad. That suggests Chili’s have the balance beautifully poised here between the nostalgic hook of the ad – an iconic group having fun harmonizing their old jingle – and excitement over the product itself. That impression is borne out by the Key Associations for the commercial, in which the #1 mention is simply “Ribs!”, and the reasons for happiness, in which both the singing and the ribs are most mentioned.

Mischief and Chili’s have put together a joyful ad which doesn’t take itself too seriously and deftly keeps the focus on the brand and delicious product rather than doing anything too distracting. The ad works smartly as a video in its own right, but it’s also built with one eye on TikTok and shortform content, where singing clips regularly go viral and old songs find new leases of life. And it’s a good lesson in how to refresh and re-use old assets like the Baby Back Ribs jingle.

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