Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Franchisees ask "Where's the beef?"; Wendy's responds with new campaign

A friend e-mailed me today about the demise of Wendy's "red wig" ads: "I am glad to see this campaign go away," she said. "It was beyond STUPID." Well, it sounds like Wendy's heard the same message from its franchisees. As MSNBC reports:

Wendy's International Inc. will scrap its eight-month old advertising campaign—much of it built on young men wearing a red wig with braided pigtails—amid continued weak sales, the nation's third-largest hamburger chain announced Monday.

[S]ales at stores opened at least a year — considered a key indicator of a retailer's strength — fell 0.8 percent at U.S. company restaurants in the fourth quarter compared with a 3.1 percent increase in the fourth quarter of 2006. At franchise restaurants, same-store sales were up 0.2 percent for the quarter, compared with a 2.7 percent increase the year before.
The "red wig" spots were created by Saatchi & Saatchi, the same agency that developed Wendy's landmark "Where's the Beef?" campaign in 1984. According to Advertising Age, the company has hired Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners to roll out new spots beginning Feb. 4:
Wendy's used its franchisee convention in Florida to unveil a new product-based campaign from Kirshenbaum that will begin airing next week. There's also a new tagline: "It's waaaay better than fast food. It's Wendy's."
There's a great lesson in all this for marketers and agencies, something that I mentioned in a previous post about Old Marketing vs. New Marketing: "Old marketing was about raising awareness. New marketing is about raising the rate of response." It's pretty clear that people noticed Wendy's "red wig" ads. But in retrospect, any thought that this increase in awareness would lead to increased sales seems, to quote the friend mentioned above, "beyond STUPID."

1 comment:

ScLoHo (Scott Howard) said...

I wanted one of the red wigs to wear into a Burger King and ask for the "King". Or a King head to wear into a Wendy's and proclaim that this was now my domain.

But neither the red wigs, or the creepy King persuade me to eat their food.

Time to go back to the basics of focusing on what customers want instead of goofy (creative?) campaigns. Hot & Juicy makes me want to go thru Wendy's drive thru.

Time for lunch. I just talked myself into it.