advertising and other stuff. no, really.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Wendy’s troubles—it was the wig, right?

Lotta questions here for a Friday, I know, but, that whole Wendy’s damn red wig snafu thing is stuck in my head. Hang in there with me.

What happened with that whole mess. Was brand awareness over eight months up? Yes. Fourth quarter sales up? Yes. Were people polarized over it? Yes. Yes. Yes. Did the brand hate it? Apparently. Still, didn’t this do what any campaign is supposed to, in that, short of a tampering scare, it got noticed? (After all, any PR is good PR, no?)


Did they not stick with it long enough? Could be. Especially when you look at how long BK has been running the King—and look at the results for them now. Up.

Is the difference here that one CMO (BK) had the guts to try something new with Subservient way back while Wendy’s is now too worried about what board members, even Dave’s own family members say? Maybe. Is it really about “Well, it just wasn’t right for the brand?”

While you always have to respect the image of a brand, I do not know a single DOM/CMO who would be so unhappy as to fire the agency
when sales are up—unless something else is going on. So why? Is the freak factor of a red wig drastically more different than it is for BK and The King?

Not sure it is.

Both invigorated the category from what I can tell. (I still love the Baconator spot.) But if the wig was such a problem, why is it still all over their site? And looking at the new direction, aren’t these now about the safest, family/product-focused shot spots you’ve seen? Sure they’re solid and all, but they feel like something the King might parody. (Who knows, maybe they wanted to capture some of that Mama Lucia magic.)

Gimmee answers people. Please.


Irene Done said...

I loved the Baconator spot too but the rest of the red wig stuff looked very derivative of Burger King. Except -- totally subjective -- it never seemed as funny or delightfully bizarre.

The new fish spots underwhelm and the target now appears much older (and Lent-observing). It's such an abrupt shift but maybe it's more in line with how this company sees itself. Is it my imagination or are campaigns in this category always driven by what franchisees like, not what consumers like?

llcooljessie said...

I could be wrong, but I think the King is just there to creep us out, while red wig guy makes a wise choice and describes the "made right when I order it" reasoning behind that choice.

Costumes aside, the Wendy's spots actually discuss real differentiation.

Anonymous said...

id: Thing is, I doubt the BK franchisees had much of a say with subservient. And with BK , you can actually compare two like-brands in the same category with completely different messages. So why does it work for BK and not for Wendy’s, you know?

And older crowd I could see, but the pseudo-valley girl voice undermines that. The animation of the icon now just seems about the safest thing a brand would do. I’m sure the family and franchisees both love it because it now lives up to their expectations of what the brand should be.

But this 'wholesome goodness' message is a total disconnect. My message of love would be: it’s fast food. We’re addicted.


jessie–but at the same time, think about what the King was doing at that time. Bringing the brand icon to life in a way a younger generation hadn’t seen. Jack in the box maybe in regional spots but not until later I believe.

Having said that, I understand the idea for red wig was that you shouldn’t just follow the crowd to any place. Maybe the red wig on a guy brought out latent cross-dressing fears.

Okay, maybe I was reaching on that last one.