Wendy’s Is Waaaay Better: Truly Effective Advertising

Wendy’s advertising has improved dramatically – and their same-store sales trends prove it. They’ve done a great job getting back to basics by touting their brand’s wendys2superior quality. Kudos to the Wendy’s brand marketing team and their advertising agency, kirshenbaum bond + partners, for bringing superior quality to life with the ‘Waaaay Better’ campaign. It’s no secret that Wendy’s has struggled since 2002 to replace their legendary Dave Thomas campaigns, including the tragic guys-in-wigs misfire last year. Wendy’s advertising is waaay better indeed. Same-store sales, the most important business indicator for restaurants, have steadily improved for the last few months.

Getting truly effective advertising – that measurably improves sales and profit performance – is rare, but essential. Here’s why the Wendy’s campaign – and other successful advertising campaigns – works. The campaign:

– reinforces the brand’s positioning (the brand’s unique, superior promise). Wendy’s quality and taste are superior to other fast food options and the advertising communicates it.
has a clear main message – The clear message is that Wendy’s has better quality; that message isn’t buried in a myriad of other information.
includes compelling benefits – better taste is extremely important to consumers who are deciding where to eat.
is campaignable – there is a strong, modular expandable idea that can be used consistently across all the marketing, and for many years. It’s not just one ad that works.
has powerful visuals – even without audio, the ads are compelling. We ‘eat with our eyes,’ and receive roughly 60% of our communication through what we see.
has a call to action –the critical ‘come buy this’ message is featured.
drives real results – same-store sales, the key performance measure, are up. There’s no ‘spin’ of citing obscure measurements, common for campaigns that are not performing.

Lessons Learned:
1. The important first step to developing great advertising is to understand and articulate your brand positioning. Your Agency can only do its best work for you with this information.
2. Even spectacular brands have advertising missteps. When your campaign doesn’t work, go back to the basics of understanding and leveraging your brand’s equities (what consumers like about you).
3. Make sure the main message is clear. Advertising is a tool to sell more stuff. Period. Don’t let communication methods like humor, spokespeople or visual techniques cloud the issue.
4. Evaluate campaign effectiveness by 1-3 financial performance metrics. Again, advertising is a tool to sell more stuff. Like any investment, it must provide an ample return on investment.

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