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Wendy?s new mobile microsite parodies fake burgers for viral impact

The Wendy?s Company relies on consumer interest in parodies with a new mobile-optimized site that pokes fun at "Freezy Diskz" frozen patties' supposed superiority to the chain?s juicy burgers, catering to a smartphone audience with shareable content.

Wendy?s fans can visit the brand?s ?Othr Guyz? mobile-optimized site on their smartphones to access a gallery of shareable ads and posts. The tongue-in-cheek campaign was designed to showcase Wendy?s burgers in a favorable light and complement the fast-food chain?s revamped mobile and desktop sites, which now feature a new nutritional calculator.

?It?s not an entirely new concept, but overall it?s funny and it plays homage to a very successful past campaign,? said Roy DeYoung, senior vice president of creative strategy at PM Digital. ?Most importantly, we would be interested in how the target market engages. 

?[Is Wendy?s] willing to spend time on something so highly branded and does the Othr Guyz campaign and microsite provide enough wow appeal to engage this audience? The data will reveal whether it is successful or not.?

A fresh marketing spin
Wendy?s parody site seeks to engage mobile users by layering in humorous YouTube videos and posts that may be distributed across social media networks. Fast-food chains are being forced to get creative in their new advertising initiatives as the food and beverage industry tightens its competitiveness.

?Parody is prevalent throughout online content, enjoyed by many, and has become mainstream in the cyber world,? said Paul Valle, vice president at Boston Retail Partners. ?As with all online content, it has the potential to reach a large audience. 

?This marketing move has no downside. Worst case, it falls flat and is forgotten. However, best case, it is shared by many with a positive effect on brand awareness.?

Consumers can visit on their smartphones to interact with the new content. Individuals may watch the campaign?s two-minute-long YouTube commercial featuring actor and fitness trainer Lou Ferrigno and explore the different variations of "Freezy Diskz," which are Wendy's fictitious frozen burgers.

Mobile users can share the imaginary product?s advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google Plus.

One Freezy Diskz ad showcases a cautionary banner, emblazoned with the word ?Oopz!? The banner informs consumers that the transaction computer is frozen, much like the fake frozen patties.

It then admits that Wendy?s always uses fresh beef, thereby ensuring that its products never need to be frozen. Users can click on the Wendy?s hyperlink to visit the fast-food chain?s real mobile site, which now features a brand-new nutritional calculator.

Hamburger fans can select any of the brand?s current menu offerings and press the ?customize? button. The site will enable customers to virtually add or subtract ingredients, and view their preferred burger?s exact calorie count.

Wendy?s is also steadily rolling out mobile ordering to select markets. Consumers in Austin, Phoenix, Columbus and Portland may input their orders into the mobile site and pick up their meals at their nearby bricks-and-mortar Wendy?s location.

Looking ahead
The food and beverage marketer is likely attempting to keep its brand at the forefront of consumers? minds by ensuring that it taps a wide variety of marketing ploys.

Wendy?s started off 2016 with a competitive edge by testing in-restaurant beacon technology, a new mobile app and self-service kiosks, pointing to how quick-service chains must evolve to stay with the times (see story).

Last fall, the brand differentiated itself from the slew of fast food chains rolling out mobile-optimized games by attempting to bolster awareness and sales for the return of its Pulled Pork BBQ Sandwich via a variety of choose-your-own-adventure YouTube videos (see story).

Ultimately, introducing the parody site ? coupled with shareable content ? is an ideal strategy with which to kick off the next quarter?s marketing goals.

?Wendy?s use of parody has shown huge success in the past with its ?Where?s the beef?? campaign, which is arguably one of the most successful commercial campaigns in restaurant history and demonstrates the effectiveness of promoting opposites,? Mr. Valle said.

?True success of this current campaign will hinge on how it utilizes this to increase customer engagement opportunities. It definitely needs to be seen to be appreciated and it certainly stands out from other advertising!?