Monday, September 3, 2007

Wendy doesn't like Wendy's campaign

During the car ride home from Massachusetts, my husband suggested I read this free story that ran on Friday in The Wall Street Journal about the failed turnaround of Wendy's. For people in the ad business, let's cut to the chase, which can be found in paragraph 36: "As an 8-year-old, the red-headed Wendy Thomas posed in braided pigtails for the picture that now adorns Wendy's 6,600 locations. At the suggestion of her sister, Ms. Farber, executives arranged for Ms. Thomas, now 46, to do a television screen test in the company's corporate kitchen [Ed. note: in spring of 2006]. Chief marketing officer Ian Rowden says executives gave the screen test 'very, very, very serious consideration,' but no 'Wendy' campaign ensued. This spring, the company launched a television ad featuring a young man wearing a wig of red, braided pigtails. Wendy Thomas says she took the spot as a personal affront." Ad Age has now picked up on the Journal's story, with a twist: Wendy's says that the "That's right" campaign from Saatchi has done more in eight weeks than the old campaign did in 18 months; the story also points out that the Thomas family's influence is waning, with it owning only 15 out of about 6000 restaurant and having a minimal share in the company. Who knows what putting Wendy's on the block will do for its agency relationship, but for now, look for more guys to run around in red wigs, I guess.

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