Cannes Lions


VML, Kansas City / WENDY'S / 2015

Case Film
Supporting Content
MP3 Original Language






For too long, quality barbecue was a luxury reserved for the privileged few living in America’s Barbecue Belt. In late 2014, Wendy’s brought a pulled pork menu to all of America for a limited time. To raise awareness and drive sales of the products, Wendy’s launched #BBQ4merica — a tongue-in-cheek cause campaign that brought attention to the burning issue of Barbecue Inaccessibility.

The cause was simple: the need for quality barbecue for an entire nation. We created a series of public service announcement-style videos featuring celebrities from the ’80s and ’90s to share on Wendy’s social channels. We asked our fans to sponsor a “barbecue deprived” friend by tagging them in the comments, held a “Tweet-a-thon” for the cause to raise awareness, and even created a Tumblr hub for content that consumers could share to spread the word.

Ultimately, the public relations campaign raised awareness of the importance of having quality barbecue nationwide by spoofing some of America’s most successful PR campaigns!

More importantly for Wendy’s, the campaign resulted in fantastic same-store sales growth, record engagement with the brand on social channels, and significant earned media in pop culture, food, business and industry publications.


• Invited Fast Company for an exclusive visit to Wendy’s to learn first-hand about the pulled pork offerings.

• Partnered with “Dancing with the Stars” contestant Alfonso Ribeiro, actor Ralph Macchio and pro wrestler Steve Austin to create a series of #BBQ4merica online videos. The videos spoofed a cause campaign to bring attention to Barbecue Inaccessibility and the Wendy’s solution.

• Released videos on Facebook to targeted audiences, including those who liked barbecue, Wendy’s and our celebrities; directed consumers to tag their friends in the comments and kept the conversation alive.

• Sustained product coverage with celebrity media interviews to insert Wendy’s in the news.

• Released additional content on Facebook and Tumblr, optimizing our target audience as the campaign progressed.

• Promoted a Twitter trend and held a “Tweet-a-thon.” Celebrities shared content, tweeted live for the brand and engaged consumers.

• Captured content of celebrities at production days to generate additional entertainment and lifestyle media.


We gave our audience a chance to tell the story for us online, be rewarded with humorous content and earn effortless celebrity with writer credits on (the first partnership of its kind with a brand). What’s more:

• Purchase intent and message association surveys with media partners were overwhelmingly positive (e.g., +36% among engaged Twitter users, +4% among all those exposed on Facebook and +16% on eBuzzing)

• Nearly 4 million video views and 3 million engagements (50% more than planned)

• 95% of comments were caption submissions

• Featured in 550 publications (including The Wall Street Journal and Time), totaling 345 million earned media impressions

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