Wendy's integrated campaign promotes product freshness, bacon sandwiches

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Wendy's is conducting the “You know when it's real” campaign, an effort emphasizing the restaurant's commitment to freshness. It includes online advertising, numerous social media initiatives, a video contest and an interactive microsite.

Kaplan Thaler Group developed the initiative, which soft-launched with TV and radio spots on October 9, and fully rolled out October 12.

Myles Kleeger, managing director of Kaplan Thaler Group, said the brand wanted to make aggressive comparisons to other fast-food chains that use frozen meat and pre-packaged produce.

He added that one goal of the online effort is to increase the company's database for its e-mail program, Wendy Mail, thereby seeking new business, as well as to establish and maintain a dialogue with its customers.

“We're not trying to target a specific demographic, but more of a psychographic target — those who love fast food,” Kleeger said. “The Web is obviously an important place to promote it.”

Wendy's updated its homepage to reflect the messaging, but the majority of interactive elements are on the campaign microsite, WendysRealTime.com. The portal includes pop culture elements and a Twitter feed. It also urges users to take a quiz, which asks them to choose between two images and click the one that's more real. At its completion, users are prompted to share their results with friends by giving both their own and a friend's e-mail address.

The site also drives consumers to Wendy's YouTube channel, which is hosting the “30 Seconds of Wendy's” video contest. Users can upload half-minute-long video clips sharing a Wendy's experience for a chance to win free hamburgers for a year — a $200 Wendy's gift card. The company picks a winner for each of the 25 days of the contest, which began October 12. Kleeger said videos uploaded to YouTube will appear on the microsite by next week, and clips can then be uploaded to the microsite and subsequently be viewable on YouTube.

The portal also has details about Wendy's history and the ingredients it uses, including newly added applewood smoked bacon. In conjunction with the campaign, Wendy's started a Twitter page devoted to the burger: @UrBaconMeCrazy.

Kleeger said the social media aspect of the campaign is targeting fans of bacon, attempting to convert them into Wendy's customers.

“In the next couple weeks, we're going to roll out a search for the biggest bacon lover,” he said.

Wendy's also launched a tool on October 12 that, after users enter their Twitter handle or Facebook login, answers the question “How real are you?” based on past status updates. Consumers can then share the results with friends on their news feeds.

Kleeger said Wendy's will also launch banner ads imbedded with interactive games next week.

The campaign also includes national print and broadcast television components and Web site ad takeovers on the AOL and NBC Sports homepages.

Kaplan Thaler won the Wendy's business in July. A spokesperson from Wendy's was not available for comment.

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