Serving up the best. Not the billions.

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.



In 2013, we started major technology projects for the brand, including website management, mobile apps, a mobile ordering experience and more.



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.

Case study

#NuggsForCarter

Becoming the most re-tweeted tweet of all-time is harder than it sounds. Here's how we did it.

Challenge

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!

Idea

@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.

Result

  • Carter's tweet about Wendy's chicken nuggets earned 3.5 million+ retweets -- the most-retweeted tweet ever
  • Won a retweet challenge against Ellen DeGeneres, who hosted Carter on her nationally syndicated show
  • Generated over 2.5 billion earned media impressions from 1,076 placements, including top-tier outlets like Fast Company, The NY Times, the TODAY Show, Time, NPR, USA Today and more
  • Over 5 million online mentions of Carter's quest for Wendy's nuggets, also organically boosting conversation mentioning Wendy's 376% year over year
  • Other brand accounts like Guinness World Records, Twitter, Amazon, Microsoft and Google chimed in -- along with celebrities like "Breaking Bad" actor Aaron Paul, comedian Andy Milonakis and T-Mobile CEO John Legere
  • Twitter verified Carter's account AND donated a custom emoji triggered by the #NuggsForCarter hashtag, used 234,000+ times
  • @Wendys earned 213,000 new Twitter followers and 23.9 million visits to its Twitter profile
  • Wendy's gave Carter his year of free chicken nuggets

Awards & Recognition

Cannes Lions

Case study

The 90s Called...

How Wendy's spanned two generations with a message about taco salad. 

Challenge

Wendy's was excited to announce the return of its Taco Salad, which disappeared in the '90s. And the company knew that fans of the salad from that decade would be "stoked" as well. However, Wendy's also wanted to reach and appeal to a younger audience who may have been too young to experience Taco Salad the first time around. 

Idea

To make sure both Gen X and Millennials heard the news about the return of Wendy's Taco Salad, we first targeted both with Facebook video content that depicted parents' over-the-top enthusiasm for the Taco Salad ... and the '90s. 

Result

Case study

Where's the Beef (From)?

How we took the world's most iconic slogan and re-defined it for a new generation.

Challenge

Re-launch Wendy's classic hamburger to a more health and eco-conscious generation.

Idea

Highlight that Wendy's beef is raised regionally-and never put in a freezer-by giving new meaning to their iconic phrase "Where's the beef?" 

Result

+20% Sales increase (year-over-year). 

Case study

Pushing pulled pork outside the BBQ belt.

Wendy’s goal isn’t about numbers. They just want to serve quality to every customer. As digital AOR, VML does the same. After huge success of the Pretzel Bacon Cheeseburger national launch with our original Pretzel Love Songs, the questioned loomed—what's next?

Challenge

Raise awareness for a new line of BBQ Pulled Pork menu items: a Pulled Pork Sandwich, a Pulled Pork Cheeseburger and Pulled Pork-topped Cheese Fries.

Idea

A faux cause campaign to bring quality BBQ to the entire nation. PSAs drove social audiences to "sponsor" barbecue-deprived friends. We also staged the world's first live Tweet-a-Thon, with celebrities, challenges, giveaways, and real-time responses.

Result

We solved barbecue inequality for an entire nation, and caused an outpouring of support (and sales). We also earned 17.5 million video views, 210 million impressions, and 10.3 million engagements from Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and YouTube audiences.

Case study

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.

Challenge

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.”

Idea

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.

Result

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.

Awards & Recognition

Facebook Studio Awards