With news that Saatchi & Saatchi is going to lose the Wendy’s account starting to bubble in the blogosphere, particularly from George Parker at AdScam who says that “all production has ceased at Saatchi concerning Wendy’s and the red wig campaign“, it made sense to take a look at the company and campaign to see if the mooted account loss is really deserved.
Advertising for fast food joints is a tricky business, thanks mainly to meddling franchisees who don’t know much about marketing but know that they don’t like paying for it.
Wendy’s in particular has been challenged with both sliding same-store sales and a significant loss of place in the market with the passing of Dave Thomas. The iconic founder was the face, voice and positioning of Wendy’s and since he left the QSR has been struggling to find out who they will be. Or, rather, they have been struggling to find a successful company to be.Saatchi’s red wig campaign at least gave them buzz:
Unfortunately, Dave Thomas’ family didn’t like the ads. And neither did franchisees. And, sadly, neither did consumers based on the poor sales numbers.
Though they were memorable, the ads didn’t say anything about Wendy’s that made sense to consumers…they just sort of burst to the top of their attention.
Wendy’s was built on an old fashioned promise of real beef and old style taste. Dave Thomas stood for honesty and homey, well-made burger. Well, as least as homey and well-made as a fast food place would do it. From their ads that featured Dave to the old school logo to the square hamburger patties, Wendy’s was just a little bit different.This campaign walked away from all that. They got people’s attention, but didn’t have anything truly differentiating to say…and just being top of mind wasn’t good enough.
It reminds me of the campaign that Fallon did for Subway a few years back that, though kinda funny and much different than the bland stuff they had done before, just didn’t really say anything about Subway or their product that enticed people to buy:
Making people notice your advertising is the first hurdle, but a good campaign must go farther. Wendy’s has shown no signs of being able to do that and, unfair as it may be that the work is being judged by some random family members and know-nothing franchisees, Saatchis can’t even fall back on positive sales numbers.
They are in a tough spot.In a perfect world, they would get another chance to pitch some work to Wendy’s, but the most likely outcome is for them to lose the business after a weak campaign that features nothing more than beauty shots of the food.