Our partnership with Wendy’s began in late 2012, when we became their digital agency of record. While we first focused on digital campaign activation, our role grew to include planning, social media strategy, publishing, and community management.
Today, we serve as the brand voice across all social media channels. We also act as a strategic and creative lead, continuing to produce 360º campaign activations on a project to project basis. Throughout our work, we follow Wendy's philosophy, aiming not for quantity of fans, but quality of experiences.
Becoming the most re-tweeted tweet of all-time is harder than it sounds. Here's how we did it.
Most brands are skittish about genuinely engaging in real time with their social media audiences, but Wendy's community management is all in, loving on fans and playfully roasting haters every day.
We've done it by combining a consistent, conversational voice with topical, relevant humor and playful sarcasm. This formula has given Wendy's community management the ability to do some pretty amazing things with its social community.
Such was the case in April when 16-year-old Carter Wilkerson (@carterjwm) tweeted Wendy's and asked how many retweets it would take to give him free chicken nuggets for a year. Our brief exchange went viral organically and led to a mainstream media blitz unlike any we've ever seen. Moreover, it led to Carter's tweet about Wendy's chicken nuggets being the most-retweeted tweet of all time!
@carterjwm tweeted Wendy's and asked how many retweets it would take to get him free chicken nuggets for a year. We responded "18 Million." Before we knew it, celebrities and brands championed Carter's "cause," getting it mainstream media attention.
As Carter began to rack up more than 2 million retweets to become the second-most-retweeted tweet of all time (surpassing notable tweets from President Barack Obama and famous pop band One Direction), we reached out to the owner of the most-retweeted tweet ever, talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, whose Oscar selfie stood atop the list for years with more than 3.2 million retweets.
At this point, we upped the ante and tweeted that when Carter's tweet beats Ellen's, we would donate $100,000 to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption charity in Carter's name.
Ellen included the story in her monologue that week, and Carter even appeared on her show.
Awards & Recognition
How we turned a simple product benefit into national news.
When it comes to engaging with its social media audiences in real time, Wendy's community management is all in, loving on fans and playfully roasting haters and even our competition, resulting in consistent mainstream media coverage.
For example, in January, when Twitter user "Thuggy-D" replied to a Wendy's tweet saying Wendy's must freeze its beef, the conversation escalated until we reminded him about the miracle of refrigeration.
CNN's Anderson Cooper reenacted the exchange, resulting in thousands of Twitter users asking Wendy's to roast them in the same way. So we did. And the mainstream media covered it again.
And when McDonald's tweeted that it was going to be serving fresh beef (like Wendy's always has) on one of its hamburgers in some locations by mid-2018, we responded with a tweet that not only hijacked its biggest announcement of the year, but made 82% of the conversation surrounding it about Wendy's.
Wendy's community management combines a consistent, conversational tone with topical, relevant humor and playful sarcasm. At our best, we do this while also driving consistent brand messaging.
Such was the case when we shut down a Twitter troll, and our largest competitor, McDonald's, in real time by pairing the established Wendy's "challenger with charm" brand voice with our core "fresh, never frozen" brand messaging. In other words, we simply did what we do every day.
Thuggy D Exchange
McDonald's Fresh Beef Exchange
Awards & Recognition
Engaging a social community by "mistake."
Wendy’s goal isn’t about numbers. The company just wants to serve quality to every customer. And VML does the same. Instead of fans, clicks, views or follower, our goal as digital AOR is to serve digital experiences that generate the most meaningful and memorable engagement of our target.
Get Americans to order Wendy’s new Bacon Portabella Melt on Brioche, despite the fact they may be unsure how to pronounce the word “brioche.”
People love to point out and share a brand’s social media mistake. So to start conversation and sharing, we sabotaged our own Facebook and YouTube videos by “unknowingly” mispronouncing “brioche” before our customers could.
Our audience actively pointed out our “mistake” and educated their own followers on the proper pronunciation. Over the course of the campaign, we gained more than 50,000 new Facebook fans and captured more than 1.7 million post engagements.
Helping teens just say yes to Wendy's Baconator.
Wendy’s is dedicated to serving the best quality to every valued customer. So when it comes to one of America’s favorite foods, bacon, they’ve resolved never to slice it too thin, freeze and defrost, or worst of all—microwave it.
Many fast food restaurants take perfectly good bacon and turn it bad. We needed to convince millennials that only the best bacon gets on a Baconator.
We spoofed after-school specials that show teenagers the importance of staying on the right path. With bacon puppets as our young adults, we showed how the right choices can help them achieve the ultimate dream: getting on a Wendy’s Baconator.
Our three tales received over 35 million views, surpassing our goal by 332 percent. And with a 900 percent increase in average positive sentiment following the promoted trend. We turned our love of bacon done right into love for Wendy’s Baconator.