Regular Daily Show viewers know Jon Stewart is no fan of Arby’s. The longtime Comedy Central host has frequently poked fun at the brand, saying things like “Arby’s, the meal that’s a dare for your colon” and “technically it’s food.”
In fact, when Stewart announced he was leaving the show, Arby’s tweeted a job offer to him, an opportunity Stewart vehemently rejected on the air.
But after all that, Arby’s says they’re actually going to miss Stewart. And the brand created two ads that pay tribute to the outgoing Daily Show host, both of which are set to air during Stewart’s penultimate episode on Wednesday. Arby’s is also set to be part of Thursday’s finale, The Wall Street Journal reported, but it’s not buying ad time.
The first tribute features a collection of the many quips Stewart has made about Arby’s and a visual of him pretending to throw up, as “Thank You for Being a Friend,” best known as the Golden Girls theme song, plays in the background.
The second video introduces a new off-menu sandwich, The Daily Deli, which The Journal says the chain is naming after the show.
In that spot, an emotional voice says, “This is the last sandwich Arby’s ever wanted to make because it means he’s really leaving. This sandwich with double corned beef and deli mustard on marble rye, it’s for Jon, but also it’s for all of us, to eat at Arby’s whenever the sad thoughts come back.”
Arby’s told The Journal that the attention generated by Stewart’s jokes has been largely good for business.
“Collectively, what is going on has resulted in uplift of business performance,” Arby’s chief executive Paul Brown said, noting that same-store sales were up 9.6 percent for the first quarter and up 7.6 percent in the second quarter.
The company’s chief marketing officer added that the fast-food chain is now a part of “the conversation.”
Comedy Central’s parent company Viacom has told advertisers that ratings for Stewart’s final episode will be up about 80 percent from the show’s average, ad buyers told The Journal.
Stewart’s final episode, set for Thursday, is expected to be an extended, nearly hour-long event. T-Mobile, Bud Light and movie companies like The Weinstein Company have bought ad time in the finale, where ads are priced at roughly $230,000 for 30 seconds of time in addition to agreeing to make a broader ad buy with other Viacom channels, buyers told The Journal.
Arby’s Twitter account replied to an eagle-eyed viewer who pointed out a banner ad on Comedy Central’s website, “Be sure to watch tonight’s show!”