Friday, December 17

Wendy's

We are all only too familiar with the Wendy's iconic logo, featuring the red-head little girl with pigtails. Well that little girl is all grown up and has hopped out of the logo and onto the television screen.

Wendy Thomas, daughter of founder Dave Thomas who died nine years ago, is headlining a new advertising campaign for the fast food chain and introducing a new double patty product. Makes sense, when you think about it, afterall she is the name sake and the inspiration for the company's identity.

Those in the marketing industry know that Wendy's has been struggling. Sales are down, for sure, at a time when the competition has been doing just fine, thank you. The brand has switched from one advertising campaign to another, in a category whose sales are so dependent on effective advertising.

Certainly new products should help. In addition to the new item shown by Wendy Thomas, the brand has focused on and revitalized its french fries, in an attempt to tumble market leader McDonald's. Not sure that it's working, but it has gotten a lot of attention.

So maybe going back to the original heritage and introducing us to the real Wendy Thomas is smart. Afterall, showing men in red pigtail wigs from the last campaign didn't seem to help (they even had people in the restaurants wearing the wigs!). But this new campaign is not without some controversy surrounding the fact that Wendy is a bit overweight, an issue directly tied to fast food - you can read about that here.

I'm not a fast food fan, I gave it up several years ago after a McNugget overload with my small kids. But I do think it's fascinating to watch the branding, and although Wendy's is still searching for itself, I do hope the brand stays vital.

What's your experience? Jim.

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