Wendy's Seeks Replacement For CMO Who's Exiting

Wendy's International, the nation's No.3 fast-food company, is searching for a CMO to replace Ian Rowden, who is returning to Australia after a two-year stint with the Dublin, Ohio-based company.

Paul Kershisnik, senior vice president/marketing strategy and innovation, and Bob Holtcamp, vice president/brand management, will head up marketing for the time being, reporting directly to CEO/President Kerrii Anderson.

Kershisnik came to Wendy's from Mrs. Fields Famous Brands, where he had been vice president/new product innovations and R&D. Holtcamp, who will continue to manage Wendy's brand group, will also continue to manage the creative and messaging strategy with our advertising agencies, and he will oversee field marketing. The company wouldn't comment on whether the two are being considered for the top spot.

Rowden, who joined Wendy's in 2005, has focused on boosting interactive marketing tactics. In May, AOR New York-based agency Saatchi & Saatchi launched the "That's Right" campaign during the finals of "American Idol." The campaign had crowds of lemming-like people mindlessly kicking trees in the woods until a guy in a red ponytail wig howls in indignation.



The effort, which introduced the red wig as a symbol of something like epicurean enlightenment has since included a parade of online and interactive efforts aimed at boosting the company's relevance to 18- to-34-year-old consumers.

The campaign is also something of a practical application of Saatchi CEO Kevin Roberts' "SISOMO" (sight, sound, motion) idea/book on marketing from the perspective of interactive screens, whether on buildings or palm-held devices.

Wendy's this year ran promos dangling Nintendo Wiis and console games and launched ThisIsMyBurger.com this summer--a program that enables consumers to design their ideal burger and enter the recipe in a contest in which the winning burger would make its way onto the Wendy's menu.

The event was integrated with the company's largest multi-city road show, a six-month taste-test tour.

Also, in November, the company dangled free digital songs through a partnership with Real Networks Rhapsody Web site. Through this month, consumers who buy a combo meal get an access code on their beverage for a single free download from Rhapsody.

The red wig of enlightenment is also featured in ads supporting that effort.

"Ian was instrumental in reawakening the Wendy's brand and driving innovation, and he has agreed to work with me to help transition marketing as we search for our next CMO," said CEO Anderson in a release.

She said the company will expand the "That's Right" campaign with more messages about food quality and freshness, innovation and customer experience. She also said the company will jettison neither Saatchi or Kirshenbaum Bond, another of its agencies.

With about 6,600 stores, Wendy's has posted six consecutive quarters of positive same-store sales. No. 1 fast-feeder McDonald's Corp. said Monday that its global sales are up 8.2% for November and 7% for year-to-date November.

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