Wendy's Hits A YouTube Nerve

Three Wendy's commercials, masquerading as videos and posted on YouTube, are drawing some ire--and lots of visits--from the site's outspoken fan base.

Two of the videos use dialogue peppered with modern slang against vintage-looking black-and-white footage. One, entitled "Molly Grows Up," has the main character ordering her first 99-cent Junior Bacon cheeseburger and Frosty. The other, "Are You Popular?", takes place in a high-school cafeteria and features boys talking about the popularity of certain girls. The third video, entitled "Frosty vs. Fries," is an animated action film.

All clips are "presented" by the Better Value Bureau, and both send viewers to www.bbv99.com, a website for Wendy's 99-cent value menu. The videos refer to Wendy's-branded products, but not the chain's name, per se.

As of Thursday, "Molly Grows Up" had received nearly 300,000 views and comments ranging from "LOL" to "it was so stupid it was hilarious." "Are You Popular" proved less popular, with about 1,200 views and comments ranging from "funny stuff" to "this is corporate skullduggery."

"Frosty vs Fries" had received 609 views and comments including "it just sucks to see you tube get sucked into the corporate scheme of globalization" and "that's so twisted and weird--I love it."

Columbus, Ohio-based Wendy's posted the videos Oct. 20. Spokesman Denny Lynch said the point of the videos "is to reach younger consumers, and do it in a way that provides entertainment values and humor." The www.bbv99.com Web site was created in conjunction with the videos; MRM Worldwide, a unit of McCann-Erickson, Wendy's agency of record, handled.

Lynch said it was too early to tell how many visitors the website had gotten or whether Wendy's would post more videos on YouTube. He did express enthusiasm at the traffic for "Molly Grows Up."

"The goal is to have people view it, and initially it looks like the numbers are pretty good," Lynch said.