Wendy’s puts creative, media in review


Wendy’s International, part of Wendy’s/Arby’s Group, announced it is reviewing its national agency resources. The first phase of the agency review will focus on selecting a lead agency to integrate the brand’s advertising, media planning, digital and restaurant activation, and the second phase will focus on multi-cultural marketing, media buying and PR. Wendy’s spent $275 million in U.S. media last year, according to Nielsen numbers. RBR/TVBR spoke to Wendy’s spokesperson Bob Bertini about the review and its timing. While he couldn’t comment about how many of the $275 million goes toward radio and television, he did confirm the “Lion’s share of our media budget is on broadcast.”

“Not that we have a clear strategy in place and we have our brand book, we know where we want to take this brand,” said Bertini. “We have a record number of new products in the pipeline right now—many of them will be coming out later this year and next. It’s time for us to be sure, now that we have our strategy in place and the key building blocks of our turnaround, now is the time to make sure that we’re speaking in the most effective voice for the brand. For us it’s a logical next step.”

He also mentioned that the current campaign (‘Waaaay Better’) that they have in place has been “doing some good things for us…but we want to make sure we have the best talent working on our business going forward.”

He tells us the review will be completed in August.

This review is the latest step in a comprehensive turnaround plan for the brand, which was put in place following the merger that created Wendy’s/Arby’s Group in September 2008.

This move follows a disciplined brand-building process led by Wendy’s Chief Marketing Officer Ken Calwell and the brand’s leadership team, which encompassed:

Implementation of a clear brand strategy and aligned business objectives
A reorganization of marketing team resources
An overhaul of the R&D and market testing approach
Creation of a new product pipeline, and
The completion of Wendy’s “brand book” – a detailed strategic framework for all brand efforts

“We’ve completed a rigorous analysis of the Wendy’s brand that included extensive consumer and market research,” said Calwell. “Now that we have a clear brand strategy in place and a brand book to guide our decisions, the timing is right for us to significantly improve how we communicate the Wendy’s message to consumers. We are beginning to re-establish leadership in product innovation with new premium hamburgers, chicken and Frosty menu items this year. Our next step is to ensure that we have the best team talent and advertising to drive results at our franchised and company-operated restaurants.

Incumbent Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners is Wendy’s main creative agency. MediaVest is the media incumbent. Both are invited to participate. The review covers does not include sister restaurant chain Arby’s.