Wendy's pulls kids'-meal CD over offensive Donna Summer track

Posted on Mon Jun 14 2010


It's just not safe to feed your children junk food anymore! First, it was potentially toxic gunk on the Shrek drinking glasses from McDonald's. Now, it's racy lyrics on songs from CDs packaged with Wendy's kids meals. The latest flap erupted this weekend when some astute listener (or really bored Wendy's worker) realized that the Disco Fever CD tucked into kids meals contained the words "so horny" instead of the safe-for-everybody "so bad" in Donna Summer's classic "Last Dance." The chain quickly pulled the CD, but left in place three others containing some benign ditties and Kool & The Gang's "Celebration," which I consider more offensive than any '70s disco tune could ever be. The company issued this effusive mea culpa: "We made an honest mistake. We didn't intend for this to happen. ... We are very sorry it occurred, and we take responsibility." OK, then. Back to the fat-laden, sodium-filled business of the day!

—Posted by T.L. Stanley

Wendy's says its value meals are a lot better than dollhouse food

Posted on Wed Dec 23 2009

Wendy's has reverted back to the old attack-your-competitor-in-15-seconds tactic. The fast feeder began running this ad as part of its "You know when it's real" series from The Kaplan Thaler Group, which conveys that Wendy's burgers use real meat and other ingredients, unlike those offered by rivals. This shorter version of the ad shows one man eating a Wendy's meal and another eating a tiny meal (which looks like it was intended for a Barbie doll, not a human). The man with the miniature version proclaims that his meal cost $2.99, only to find out that the other guy got his from Wendy's for the same price. Unlike past ads, the new spot features no flying toupees or fake backgrounds to get the point across. Instead, Wendy's uses the 15 seconds to relay its value message. Why the men are eating in what appears to be a library, I don't know. But one thing is clear in this ad: Wendy's knows you're cash-strapped and wants you to think of this ad when you have $3 to spare.

—Posted by Elena Malykhina

What's that, Wendy's has a new slogan? What a huge surprise.

Posted on Tue Oct 13 2009

Wendy's changes taglines as often as I change the oil in my lawnmower. OK, I've never changed the oil in my lawnmower, but I'm told you're supposed to do it every year or so. This is precisely the lifespan of a Wendy's tagline. Nearly every year since Dave Thomas's death in 2002, the chain has chucked its tagline for a new one. Last year, Wendy's began making us all nostalgic for Wayne's World when it rolled out its latest failed line, "It's waaaay better than fast food." This was an urgent replacement for the wildly unpopular "That's right" red-wig campaign, which actually made the Mr. Wendy ads look good (sort of). Last fall, Wendy's execs vowed to stop the brand schizophrenia created by switching slogans so frequently. They lied. This time around, the No. 3 burger chain takes a page out of the Coke playbook by telling us, "You know when it's real." But I'm not buying this tagline as being the real thing. I've heard it all before. Since they can't bring Dave Thomas back, perhaps it's time to really go back to the well and trot out "Where's the beef?" Everyone loved those ads, and frankly, at this point, they can't do much worse.

—Posted by Kenneth Hein

Fresh-cooked bacon is promised land in new Wendy's campaign

Posted on Mon Oct 12 2009

The smell of fresh-cooked bacon is so tantalizing that office workers in this Wendy's commercial are willing to fight every man, woman and obstacle in their way to get it. One guy smashes through glass, another steps on his co-worker, and the old lady is so intent she knocks a competitor over with a swish of the hand (he slams into a water cooler) and then leaps down from a cubicle atop a group of hungry people. (Victory, it seems, is hers.) The spot is part of Wendy's new, "You know when it's real" ad campaign, by The Kaplan Thaler Group, in which the chain is positioning itself as having food with "real" ingredients. Wendy's has upgraded its french fries and hamburgers in the process, and more improvements are on the way, CMO Ken Calwell, formerly of Domino's, told Brandweek. (You can read the Q&A here.) The 60-second launch spot shows people being able to tell what's real and what's not—e.g., a little girl pokes a woman dressed up as the Statue of Liberty, who in turn screams because she's not the "real thing." Also, a guy's toupee comes flying off. Like Wendy's says, people can easily tell real from fake. Come on, we knew he was bald.

—Posted by Elaine Wong



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