Spangles ‘Grannies’ Have Fun With TV Fame

By Joe Stumpe | May 31, 2024

Photo courtesy of Spangles From left, Margaret Shook, Kay Goodnight, Nancy Roberts and Sandy Steven react to a flub while shooting a Spangles commercial.

Kay Goodnight is getting used to the look — that one where strangers recognize her but can’t quite figure out why.

The retired optometrist’s assistant is enjoying semi-celebrity status, at least in the Wichita TV market, as one of four “grannies” featured in Spangles commercials hawking the fast-food chain’s cocktails.

“The reaction has been unbelievable,” Goodnight said. “People recognize you out in public. I think a lot of our generation can relate.”

Spangles aired the first ad a little over a year ago and — judging by the fact that eight more have followed — they’ve apparently been a success. Playing the four “grannies,” who are all grandmothers in real life, are Goodnight, Margaret Shook, Nancy Roberts and Sandy Steven. Rene Steven, Spangles’ director of operations, put the group together.

“Rene is a good friend and she called me one day and said, ‘I need a favor,’” Goodnight said. “We thought it was going to be one commercial and we just did our ninth.”

Shook, a volunteer for Rainbows United, said she’s “always asking (Steven) for gift cards and donations” for Rainbows. “She said, ‘Well, paybacks are you know what.’”

Roberts is a friend of Shook’s and Sandy is Rene’s aunt. Goodnight said she’s known Shook for 50 years. “We were just shocked the day we went to meet with Rene, and there we both were.”

Most of the 30-second ads portray the women meeting in the Spangles location on West Street to sample and talk about the chain’s latest cocktail offering.

According to Shook, the original concept was for the foursome to portray members of a book club, but the segments instead became known as “grannies’ night out.”

There’s a script, but much of the ads’ appeal comes from the women’s unplanned interactions.

“Oh my gosh, we have a ball,” Goodnight said. “As you can tell, we’re always laughing.”

“They’ll have a script, but if we interject or do something funny, they’ll go with it,” Shook said. “We do many takes, and how it all fits together, it’s amazing.”

The drinks they’re shown with don’t actually contain alcohol, but Goodnight said the women “get to taste it so we know what we’re promoting.”  They are paid to appear in the commercials.

Two of the group’s favorite spots were filmed outside the restaurant. One was set in a kitchen, where Goodnight was trying to recreate Spangles’ orange slush cocktail. “The blender went kind of crazy,” Shook said. “We laughed so hard at that.”

The other, shot at Spangles owner Dale Steven’s home, showed the grannies admiring a buff young pool boy nicknamed “Tiger” while sipping frozen drinks. Or as Goodnight describes it: “Four old ladies making over a pool boy.”

The grannies were celebrity walk-ons in Gridiron, the annual show staged by local media members, and they are set to appear at a Habitat for Humanity fundraiser this fall. There’s a 7½-minute collection of outtakes from their commercials on (google “Spangles grannies outtakes”).

Wichita-based Spangles introduced alcohol onto its drink menu in late 2019 in what was seen as an innovative move for a fast-food chain — and controversial by some. 

“I have only had one person who had a negative thing to say about it, because it was about alcohol,” Goodnight said.

One of the commercials showed the grannies discussing such criticism. In it, Roberts glanced at her phone and said: “How about this email? ‘I don’t think you should be promoting old ladies drinking.’”

Replied Sandy Steven: “Who are they calling old?”