Economy's Innocent Victims: Weird AdsSure, the current dicey economic climate has reduced America to nation of terrified food hoarders. But more importantly, it has cost us some of our annoying and unnecessarily strange advertising icons: Applebee's Wanda Sykes-voiced talking apple, and a bunch of guys running around in bizarre red pigtail wigs on behalf of Wendy's. Take a moment to mourn them. "Both campaigns were meant to attract younger diners," the Times reports. But they failed, because kids aren't doing as many drugs these days, I guess. The companies' new advertising strategy? "Hey, look at our food."

Advertising and restaurant executives point to several reasons that neither campaign was a hit. The bizarre red wig commercials were too much of a departure from Wendy's folksy brand; the apple was not a strong enough image to represent Applebee's. It is unlikely, though, that either one would have been ended so quickly in better economic times.

Instead, both marketers have opted for a more recession-proof approach: glamour shots of food that are intended to make mouths water and prompt consumers to reach for their wallets.

THEY WILL BE MISSED. Wait; no.

[NYT; disclosure: I once worked with Doug Quenqua, author of this article.]