Published: Thursday, May 24, 2007
Wendy's unveils new creative ad campaign
Wendy's returns to the ad firm that created 'Where's the beef.'
DUBLIN, Ohio (AP) Wendy's International Inc., still struggling to connect with customers in its advertising as it did when founder Dave Thomas appeared in the hamburger chain's commercials, rolled out a new campaign on one of television's biggest stages Wednesday night.
The campaign, which debuted in the finals of "American Idol," is built on the slogan "That's right." It's a new twist on an old standard that Thomas relied on in the more than 800 ads he appeared in over 12 years for the No. 3 hamburger chain before his 2002 death: The use of humor to emphasize Wendy's quality, made-to-order food and unfrozen beef that set it apart from its competitors.
"Wendy's has got this great legacy and heritage," said Kevin Roberts, Worldwide CEO for ad agency Saatchi & Saatchi. "I think many agencies have struggled with how do you replace Dave. I think here we haven't replaced him. We've taken what he said and what he thought and given it to the consumer. Now Dave is not the boss, but the consumer is the boss."
A new direction
The ads are the first since Wendy's went back to the New York-based agency that created its popular 1980s campaign in which an old woman asked of other chain's hamburgers: "Where's the beef?"
The campaign comes at a time of uncertainty for the chain that ranks behind McDonald's and Burger King with 6,300 stores in North America and 300 overseas. The company, which spun off its Tim Hortons coffee-and-doughnut chain last year and sold its money-losing Baja Fresh Mexican Grill chain, is considering options that include a possible sale as a way to boost the stock value.
Neither Wendy's, which spends $300 million a year on advertising, nor the Fox show would disclose how much the ad costs. The "American Idol" finale has become the third-most watched show of the year after the Super Bowl and the Oscars and drew an average of 36.4 million viewers in last year's two-hour show.
The new ad
The 60-second ad, called "Kicking Trees," begins with hundreds of people kicking trees in the woods with their heads down, symbolizing the idea of everyone doing the same thing.
A young man wearing a red wig that looks like the pigtails donned by Wendy, the chain's mascot begins thinking he does not need to eat a hamburger cooked from frozen beef. He then begins to yell:
"I deserve a hot, juicy burger because I have a mouth," he says. "And it wants one!"
The crowd begins to shout "Hot, juicy burger! Hot, juicy burger!" The ad concludes with "Fresh never frozen. Wendy's. That's right."
Other ads will begin to run this week. "