The food-centric spot will debut on national television next week. It was unveiled on Monday at Wendy's National Convention in Orlando, Fla., and features close-up shots of food items as well as the iconic Wendy and her red pigtails. TV ads break on Monday in prime time on network and cable. Store merchandising set to debut in late February will emphasize the food with a "crisp, clean look to it, spokesperson Bob Bertini tells Marketing Daily.
"We are squarely focused on our food," he says. "We're really making food the hero again. The red wig campaign did some very good things for us. It got us noticed, got people talking about the brand again."
Michael Solomon, a professor of marketing at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, is pleased. "I'm delighted to see the end of the obnoxious current campaign," he says. "The new focus makes sense to me. I think it's the harbinger of a lot of campaigns we'll see that go back to their roots."
"Our quality food will be the hero of our advertising once again," said Kerrii Anderson, president and CEO, in a statement. "This effort has been driven by a clear understanding of our brand strategy and hallmarks of quality, freshness and honesty."
Wendy's current "That's Right" campaign--with consumers donning red wigs as a symbol of enlightenment--generated considerable attention for the brand, but has not sufficiently driven performance, the company admitted.
The new campaign from Wendy's agency partner, Kirshenbaum bond + partners, still leverages red-hair iconography, but does so in a way that is more genuine and true to the Wendy's brand, the company said.
Each television spot opens and closes with an animated version of Wendy, daughter of founder Dave Thomas, who was eight years old when the first restaurant opened in 1969. In one 30-second spot, Wendy holds up a fishing rod to introduce the new "hand-cut, North Pacific cod, fish sandwiches." In another ad, she takes a small bite out of a hamburger; in yet another, she clutches a small piggy bank to promote the Super Value Menu."
Each ad ends with a voice saying, "It's w-a-a-a-ay better than fast food. It's Wendy's."
"These appeals are usually more effective during times of uncertainty such as the recession we appear to be headed toward, where people are likely to care less about glitz or coolness and more about quality and value for the dollar," says Solomon.
The campaign will be fully integrated with radio, outdoor, online and store merchandising components.
Bertini wouldn't divulge ad spend for the effort. According to Nielsen Monitor-Plus, Wendy's spent $265 million from January to October last year.
In addition to Kirshenbaum bond + partners, Wendy's other advertising agency partners include: Saatchi & Saatchi and Vidal Partners (Hispanic advertising). MediaVest handles Wendy's national media planning and buying.