When you’re not the biggest or the loudest brand, sometimes you just need to be the silliest. And sell yourself on quality.
To sell its summer “Baconator” sandwich, Wendy’s is anthropomorphizing strips of bacon in the guise of young teenagers being drawn into temptation in a series of web videos. The tongue-in-cheek videos, created by agency VML, are done in a style of after-school specials in an effort to showcase the quality of the ingredients that go into their sandwiches.
“[Our] brand is a ‘challenger with charm,’ ” Brandon Rhoten, Wendy’s vice president of digital and social, tells Marketing Daily. “We’re not the biggest in the space, but we think we do things better.”
For instance, one video depicts two bacon-strip teenage girls sitting on a beach. While looking at a magazine, one expresses a wish she would rather look like the “thin-cut bacon” models she’s viewing. A knowledgable lifeguard interrupts to note that some people like their bacon “cut a little thicker,” and in fact, is a prerequisite for a Wendy’s sandwich. As the scene cuts back to the two girls on the beach, the girls realize that to reach their dreams (of being part of a Baconator), they need to be comfortable with who they are.
“Bacon is a wonderful, lauded thing — especially on the Internet,” Rhoten says. “But a lot of things can go wrong with it. We wanted to educate people on the right way to treat bacon.”
Other videos depict two young teen boy strips of bacon finding some illicit wood chips under an older brother’s bed (and toying with the idea of using it for extra smoking and a young bacon strip approached in a school hallway by a shady microwave. (“You wanna get ‘nuked’? It will get you nice and crispy real fast.”)
The humorous take is designed to woo the Baconator’s traditional customer base of young men in their 20s, Rhoten says. “Bacon as a product is really a young man’s kind of thing,” he says. “We’re not getting a lot of moms on their way to soccer practice eating these things.”
The tone is also meant to cut through the noise of social media, particularly the visual platforms such as YouTube and Tumblr, Rhoten says. “The world of social media us brands screaming at you all day long. We want to make sure we’re entertaining you,” he says.