- Wendy's is building on its partnership with Adult Swim's "Rick and Morty" show through a Morty'smobile vehicle that promotes the chain's new Hot & Crispy Fries, according to an announcement. Wendy's previously had not adjusted its fry prep process for nearly a decade.
- Ahead of the virtual Adult Swim Festival this weekend, the custom car — which features a life-sized Morty clad in Wendy's signature locks holding onto the roof, along with fry-themed decals — made deliveries of the menu item to fans in the Los Angeles area. On the national level, the brand is offering free fries of any size for purchases made through its mobile app through Nov. 16.
- A Morty's Prize Pack sweepstakes with Adult Swim will also dole out merchandise like a Morty's French Fry Holder and a Wendy's gift card to 50 winners. The QSR continues to deepen its ties to a TV program that is a cultural touchstone for Gen Z and millennial diners who are increasingly essential to growing sales in the fast food category.
Wendy's, the No. 2 burger chain in the U.S., is revving up a co-branded vehicle concept to give consumers a favorable first impression of its new hot and crispy fries. The Morty'smobile promised speedy delivery, recognizing that online orders can often get cold and soggy en route to their destination, ruining the experience. The activation was targeted in LA in the lead-up to the Adult Swim Festival, which is in its fourth year and will be streamed exclusively on the network's YouTube page. Last year's event reached more than 10 million viewers, per the announcement.
Establishing a long-term connection to "Rick and Morty" could help keep Wendy's top of mind with choosy young consumer groups who prefer brands that are tapped into pop culture. The marketer first teamed with the popular animated comedy program in 2020 to promote the rollout of its breakfast menu, and has continued to deploy efforts that lean on the titular characters: Rick, a disgruntled, acerbic scientist, and his bumbling grandson Morty.
This past summer, the restaurant chain designed a "Morty's" pop-up diner that had a custom LED drive-thru and sold limited-edition menu options like a Pickle Rick Pickle Frosty. It was one of the more splashy returns of experiential marketing activities after those tactics were largely waylaid by the pandemic.
The idea of a Morty-themed car isn't new. In 2019, car-sharing marketplace Turo linked with Adult Swim to create a "Mortymobile" that similarly featured a distressed Morty clinging to the roof, mouth agape in terror. The latest take on the idea highlights co-branded elements. Morty is dressed up as Wendy with red pigtails and freckles, echoing design elements from the Morty's diner. A special Morty's logo is also emblazoned on the side of the car.
Looking beyond the LA market, Wendy's is aiming to drive more app activity as mobile channels become a significant aspect of its business. The company last year introduced a loyalty program, which now has about 19 million members, according to mixed third-quarter results posted this week. Rivals including McDonald's and Burger King are similarly ramping up their efforts in the loyalty arena in a hyper-competitive market for fast food.