Cannes Lions


KETCHUM, Atlanta / WENDY'S / 2014

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Case Film
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For quick-service restaurants, every summer brings a heated “Burger War” as national chains launch new products in the battle for sales and mindshare. Wendy’s 2013 entry was the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger, and test markets had revealed something remarkable: consumers didn’t merely like the flavorful mash-up, they loved it, spreading fawning praise across their social media channels. (It’s like everything glorious in one sandwich! #bestideaever)

While fast-food launches are primarily covered by trade media, we saw an opportunity for Wendy’s to make real news. Building on the test market phenomenon, the creative team turned it into a major love-fest, taking real consumer Tweets and Facebook posts and turning them into hilarious “Pretzel Love Songs” crooned by professional singers.

The agency secured former boy band superstar Nick Lachey to take the whole thing over the top. We turned Manhattan’s 34th Street Wendy’s into a private nightclub where Nick debuted his own Pretzel Love Song to the entertainment media elite and told his live streaming audience to submit their own Tweets and Facebook posts.

It launched a summer long blitz that had the national news and entertainment media eating out of our hand – literally – as we delivered hot Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburgers to prominent on-air personalities. The Pretzel Love Song campaign became so successful that Wendy’s incorporated it into their national television advertising.

We made consumers feel invested in the campaign they inspired, designed traditional and social media to work in harmony, and in the process helped Wendy’s Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger become the most successful product launch in the company’s history.


Give the media a lot to love

Leveraging the social media phenomenon from test marketing, we secured a USA Today exclusive, and scored “first bites” with CNN New Day and TODAY with Kathie Lee and Hoda, timed to the national rollout.

Then we recruited former boy band and reality star Nick Lachey, and transformed Manhattan’s Wendy’s into a private concert for top-tier entertainment media, where Nick crooned his own Pretzel Love Song composed of real fan tweets (“Yo it’s like everything glorious in one sandwich, hashtag is this real life?”), and live-streamed his performance to fans online.

The media bit and we delivered. When Good Morning America anchors covered an analyst report about Wendy’s rising stock, we even sent them hot “PBCs” live on air.

We fueled the campaign all summer as Nick solicited more effusive Tweets from fans, hand-picking the best lyrics for the campaign’s grand finale Pretzel Love song he wrote and released in August.


A campaign in perfect harmony

Wendy’s announced a 3.2% increase in same store sales (SSS) in Q3 of 2013, and a 3.1% increase in SSS in Q4, surpassing business goals. PR generated 2+ billion media impressions from more than 2,600 placements and we far surpassed our social media goals, creating 267,038,498 digital impressions and 8.2MM actions (video views, likes, comments, shares).

PR earned Wendy’s its first big taste of national entertainment and news media coverage, including broadcast taste test segments on CNN New Day and TODAY with Kathie Lee and Hoda, exclusive print stories with USA Today and Ad Age and high profile stories on Good Morning America Live E! News, Entertainment Weekly, New York Daily News, Fast Company, Yahoo! OMG, Bloomberg Businessweek, Yahoo! Shine, and Buzzfeed. In the trades, Nation’s Restaurant News voted “Pretzel Love Songs” among the “Top 5 Restaurant Marketing Campaigns of 2013.”

The campaign was so successful that Pretzel Love Songs were incorporated into Wendy’s brand advertising. And that was music to our ears.

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