- Wendy’s is re-upping its partnership with “Rick and Morty” as the Adult Swim series enters its sixth season, according to news shared in an email with Marketing Dive.
- The tie-up this year incorporates an Uber Eats component where the delivery app will feature a special “Morty’s” menu promoting combo meals inspired by the sci-fi comedy starting Sept. 7. Those who order the offerings enter to win exclusive merchandise, including hoodies, sweatpants and bucket hats.
- Wendy’s is also bringing back themed Coca-Cola Freestyle flavors as it looks to strengthen a connection to an animated show that’s proved enduringly popular with young consumers and a rich source for online memes.
Wendy’s is crossing over into the “Rick and Morty” universe for the third year running to strengthen delivery channels and promote orders that draw on the sci-fi comedy’s expansive world. Along with the Uber Eats and Coca-Cola Freestyle elements, the quick-service restaurant (QSR) has again worked with Adult Swim on video ads that winkingly acknowledge their collaboration.
In an ad that went live Sept. 4, Morty — a mumbly, awkward teenager — walks into his garage only to find his mad-scientist grandfather, Rick, and parents have seemingly been turned into anthropomorphic Wendy’s menu items (a reference to a well-known episode of the show). His family then dresses him up in a costume that resembles the chain’s new French Toast Sticks before the real Rick barges in and chastises Morty for getting “tricked into doing a commercial.” The original “Rick and Morty” team-up was centered around a breakfast menu introduced just prior to the pandemic.
Delivery continues to be a focus of Wendy’s work with “Rick and Morty,” speaking to how online and mobile ordering have become must-haves for QSRs during the COVID-19 period. Last year, the brand deployed a Morty’smobile vehicle — a car outfitted with a screaming life-sized Morty’s figure — to market a Hot & Crispy Fries offering around the Adult Swim Festival.
The Morty’s character, which adorns a dead-eyed Morty in Wendy’s classic red pigtails, is a co-branded mascot the chain frequently adopts for its “Rick and Morty” campaigns. In 2021, it served as the basis for a pop-up drive-thru diner serving a special Pickle Rick Frosty and Coca-Cola Freestyle flavors. Portal Time Lemon Lime is returning this year, while Wendy’s is adding a Froopyland Froopunch option to the Freestyle dispenser machines in its store locations and via its app nationwide.
Through Sept. 11, Uber Eats users can also purchase a Hot Honey NOT Birdperson Combo that includes a custom chicken sandwich, fries and drink and a Riggity Riggity Wrecked Combo of a quarter-pounder, fries and drink. Limited-run menu items inspired by pop culture or celebrity orders have become a widespread tactic used by QSRs courting different fanbases, particularly those largely composed of Gen Z and millennial consumers. Developing branded menus and landing pages that accommodate the concept could be a way for Uber to secure more advertising spend amid a push to diversify revenue and grow its commerce bets.
Wendy’s is among the many businesses that have felt the pinch of inflation, which has diminished some of the value proposition for typically cheap fast food. The company missed Wall Street’s targets on U.S. same-store sales, a key metric of health for QSRs, in its most recent earnings report. “Rick and Morty” could buoy some of the brand’s share of the cultural conversation and evolve into a long-term partner. The show’s creators recently said “Rick and Morty” is on track to release a new season every year.