These can’t be ads for the Moe’s Southwest Grill I know. Is there some other Moe’s I’m unacquainted with?

I like Moe’s food.

I like going to Moe’s.

I enjoyed hearing a Moe’s marketing executive wisely and warmly leading a panel discussion at NRA last year.

I hate these ads.

Wait. Hate is a strong word. I do not feel these ads properly reflect the level of quality I have come to associate with the brand Moe’s Southwest Grill.

See what I mean:

Where do I start?

First thing: the film is poorly shot. Maybe someone I know, like, or have successfully worked with was involved with the production of these ads. It’s possible, and if so, I’m sorry. These are overlit, complicated, odd-angled, and just sort of wimpy-feeling.

Actors are given long stretches of time with no business—there’s nothing for them to do but smile and act like a film crew isn’t pointing a big camera and a bunch of lights at them. The scripts are complicated, and the voiceover talks too much. The voiceover literally says so much, there is no way for me to retain what I just heard. I’ve gotten onstage to sing, from memory, every word of every verse of Desolation Row. I can memorize. But I can’t remember what this guy just said.

But those are little things. Little things are important, but not as important as big things.

That’s kind of kindergarten logic there, I suppose.

Big Thing: Moe’s is fun. These ads are scored with new age music that makes them feel like a cheaply produced pharmaceutical ad. When the buncha-fun-guys-VO “mnemonic” at the end calls out “Mohhhhh’s” it’s such a jarring insertion into this gentle, neutered, lite-rocking music track, it feels like you got visited briefly by the ghost of a rejected concept for a more interesting ad.

Big Thing: There is nothing that is uniquely Moe’s in this ad. It sort of makes me want to go eat at Firehouse Subs, since they have one of those crazy new Coke machines, too. Or maybe Qdoba, or Chipotle, or the local Mexican joint.

Big Thing: There is no single, memorable, ownable, branded idea here. Nothing is said and/or shown that couldn’t be left exactly as-is with a different company’s logo at the end. You might have to re-record the voiceover.

Before these ads, I group Moe’s with Chipotle, Smashburger, and other hip-ish upscale concepts (using the Ries-Trout “Positioning” model).

After these ads, I group Moe’s with CiCi’s Pizza, whose ads are equally bland and complicated and cheaply produced.

If you have a great, single-minded, clear, ownable idea, you can get buy with low-cost production executed with taste and discretion.

And, of course, if you have lots of money, it seems like you don’t need much of an idea sometimes.

But you can’t do this, Moe’s. You’re better than this.