A Brief Yet Important Study of This Glorious Sizzler Commercial from 1991
A Brief Yet Important Study of This Glorious Sizzler Commercial from 1991

Franchisees can learn much from Sizzler's opus.

If you’ve been online recently (which is sort of like saying, “If you’ve been breathing oxygen lately”), chances are you’ve come across a four-plus minute promotional video for Sizzler. In fact, if you Google the franchise right this second, the third result is USA Today screaming “Watch this Epic 1991 Sizzler Commercial.”

So that’s what I did. What follows are my notes.

Much like cave paintings can teach anthropologists heaps about the history of humankind, I believe this commercial can impart essential information to modern brands. Namely, don’t do this.

0:03 – The music. Already with the music.

0:12 – Now there’s singing. Here we go.

0:18 – We’re less than 20 seconds in and there have already been so many staged images of Americana flashing across the screen. Creepy smiles directly into the camera galore.

0:25 – A salty sea captain?!

0:48 – Wow, this song. Words cannot do it justice. It is very clearly equating America and democracy and freedom with a buffet.

1:16 – And the narration has begun.

1:28 – A man holding a cell phone the size of a cinderblock just flashed across the screen. He’s obviously conducting very important business.

1:45 – I may have blacked out for a second there but I’m pretty sure it took nearly two minutes before they actually showed people eating at a Sizzler.

1:56 – The song is back! Wait, is this the same song? It sounds a little more rock ‘n’ roll, a little more dangerous.

2:17 – A woman, clearly an actress trying very hard, just went bug-eyed and licked her lips lasciviously while staring at some food. It was … disturbing. And also my favorite part so far.

2:50 – A man just sat down and suspiciously kissed the bug-eyed actress before looking over his shoulder with a paranoid look in his eyes. I’d say these two are cheating with each other. At Sizzler.

3:46 – The narrator just said, “Sizzler for the ‘90s,” but I would have bet my life this was filmed in 1986 or before. Those shoulder pads. Yikes.

3:53 – A woman wearing a sweatband shakes her head like a dog while sweat and/or water flies everywhere. Sure, why not?

4:29 – The commercial ends with the brand’s logo on screen and a creepy voice whispering its name. I got chills.