VMLY&R: Wendy’s Now That You Mention Us

Wendy's logo with sunglasses on and text saying 'now that you mention us'

VMLY&R: Wendy’s Now That You Mention Us

The game-changing creativity that made Wendy’s a digital culture icon

When people think about brands on Twitter, Wendy’s typically comes to mind, largely because it redefined how brands should act on social media. But Wendy’s is much more than the brand that birthed sassy corporate Twitter.

Wendy’s needed a new set of customers to fall in love with its brand. While older generations had fond memories of Wendy’s, 18 to 34-year-olds - fast food’s most frequent consumers - only knew the brand as the hamburger restaurant their parents and grandparents liked. Wendy’s, therefore, needed to grow relevance among this younger digitally savvy audience.

Wendy’s decided on the principle that people don’t love businesses, they love people. And so Wendy’s sought to use the internet in the way that a person, rather than a brand, would.

But instead of spending lots of money on celebrity sponsors and influencers to gain credibility and reach new audiences, Wendy’s forged its own path. Wendy’s turned the brand into an online celebrity in its own right.

From its sassy Twitter account to its foray into gaming as an elite Twitch streamer, Wendy’s has become a cultural influencer, reaching new audiences with its entertaining norm-defying creativity.

In doing so, Wendy’s has redefined how brands can behave online. Prior to Wendy’s, most brands used social media as a customer service channel or to post safe and predictable photos and GIFs. Wendy’s wanted to take this a step further.

The brand has become an exemplar of digital culture, an icon that other entities, even other brands, wanted to associate with. Mainstream entertainment outlets - Good Morning America, The Daily Show, Netflix’s Space Force, Dave, to name a few - name-dropped Wendy’s for cachet among millennial and social-savvy audiences.

The result? Wendy’s experienced 15 straight quarters of sales growth, becoming the second largest fast food, hamburger restaurant in America.