We were warming up to the “new Wendy,” the sassy redhead in the backseat with the winning smile in Wendy’s “Now that’s better” commercial that broke April 4. Now the chain throws us a curveball and brings back the other Wendy, the original Wendy, in spots breaking this week.
Late founder Dave Thomas’s daughter Wendy returns yet again to take center stage in the chain’s advertising. Just two weeks after its introduction, the “Now that’s better” tagline isn’t used. Neither is the #definingmoment hashtag from the other spot. Instead, the theme now is “Wendy’s way.” What’s makes this side step most curious is Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick’s March 1 comment to analysts that he sees “a distinct opportunity to create a consistent look, tone and feel for our advertising.” Abruptly shifting themes hardly seems consistent, but perhaps all the pieces eventually will come together.
Brolick also said he wanted advertising that everyone would immediately know was Wendy’s, and using the engaging Wendy Thomas fills that bill. However, she’s too nice to be tough, so her message about Wendy’s high quality standards is delivered with a smile rather than a hard sell. But that’s Wendy’s way.
“Do you know why Wendy’s makes square hamburgers? Some people say it’s because my dad, Dave Thomas, wanted everyone to get a square deal,” she says in one of two new TV spots from agency Kaplan Thaler Group. “He told me it’s because we never cut corners on anything. Like our premium chicken sandwiches. When quality is your recipe, you serve only the best. That’s why we use whole chicken breast fillets, not a bunch of pieces pressed together. Because we believe it tastes better. It’s not the easiest way, but it’s Wendy’s way. And you have this Wendy’s word on it.”
A second commercial, focusing on the quality of Wendy’s salads, is equally genial. There’s no combativeness, just talk of how “Dad always insisted on having the freshest produce delivered all week long to every restaurant.” It concludes, “Fresh. It’s an ingredient in every salad we make. And that’s Wendy’s way.”
The quality/freshness message also is delivered online via a microsite, ThatsWendysWay.com, that the chain has created.
Wendy Thomas appeared last September in advertising backing the rollout of the Dave’s Hot ‘n Juicy Cheeseburgers. That introduction was one of the chain’s most successful new products, so in that sense it’s not surprising to have her return. It just had seemed that the chain was poised to take a new tack. But Brolick had promised advertising that communicates “what makes us different and what makes us better.” The new spots are simply “Wendy’s way” of achieving that.