Hamburger Wars: Wendy's Turns Up the Heat





"You Know When It's Real"
Wendy's recently launched a new marketing campaign, reportedly the first offering from their ad agency, the Kaplan Thaler Group.

The new TV commercials, in our opinion, are funny and clever -- something about the room full of Abe Lincolns is hilarious -- but there's something else that makes these spots stand out...

Wendy's has gone back to the basics of making a case for why their hamburgers deserve your consideration.

I'm Lovin' It?
As much as McDonald's would want you to believe it, telling us that Justin Timberlake is LOVIN' his Big Mac is not a compelling case for buying one. And seeing a guy in a Halloween mask with a cape is clever way to distinguish Burger King from McDonalds but, again, doesn't offer a clear rationale for a Whopper.

McHockey Puck?
In these current Wendy's commercials, the image of hockey players using the frozen patties of their competitors for pucks makes a statement, as does the sight of presumably Big Mac or Whopper patties being dumped in a warming tray.




Burgers: The Selling Proposition
Before the personality-driven campaigns that featured the late Dave Thomas, Wendy's worked hard to not only distinguish themselves from the burger competition, but to also drive home what marketers call the selling proposition.

Where's the Beef?!
You had to be there to know just how popular this commercial was in 1984. It was big. Wendy's was on the leading edge of viral marketing with this spot and Clara Peller, with her trademark line "where's the beef?," was an overnight sensation, discussed at so-called office water coolers all over the country.




Politicians get into the act
The "Where's the Beef?" phrase was so big that during the 1984 Presidential primaries, soon-to-be Democratic nominee VP Walter Mondale used it to shoot down soon-to-be-scandal-bedeviled Gary Hart. You can see here by his smug look that Mondale had been rehearsing this line all week and was just waiting for the right moment to spring it at this debate.




Parts is Parts...
Wendy's also took on KFC back in the day with their Parts is Parts classic.




Apocalypzia's Take on Other Marketing Wars:

Cola Wars Round 1: Pepsi Pours it On

Cola Wars Round 2: Coke...The Real Thing