- Wendy's is staging a "Scare-thru" at its South Gate restaurant in the Los Angeles area, per details shared with Marketing Dive. Through Oct. 31, vehicles entering the drive-thru will encounter a dinner party hosted by the Mad King, encounter a creepy clown and be surrounded by scarecrows and jack-o-lanterns.
- The first 5,000 drive-thru customers at the Scare-thru will receive a coupon book. For consumers outside of the area, the chain is offering a coupon via the chain's Twitter page that can be redeemed in its app between Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
- While the Scare-thru looks to give consumers a trick-or-treating-like experience during a Halloween upended by the coronavirus pandemic, the coupon effort on Twitter is a bid to encourage usage of its app and loyalty program.
As marketers continue to contend with this nontraditional Halloween season, Wendy's is among a number of brands that are finding ways to use their properties — both physical and digital — in creative ways to respond to COVID-19 restrictions. Walmart, for example, used its parking lots to host drive-in movies over the summer and is now using the space to host socially distant Halloween events.
Among its QSR competitors, Chipotle Mexican Grill has made its annual "Boorito" Halloween event, which offered discounts to customers who showed up at the stores in costume, an all-digital event this year as a way to reduce foot traffic to its stores. Burger King, meanwhile, is using its app to challenge customers to visit abandoned McDonald's and Wendy's restaurants to receive digital coupons.
Wendy's latest seasonal promotion taps into both physical and digital tactics, with the "Scare Thru" taking place at a physical location, and the free Frosty promotion using the brand's app and Twitter account. On Saturday, Oct. 31, the brand will post a "spooky tweet," with a clickable link through which consumers can enter their email address associated with the app. Once entered, the free small Frosty with purchase offer — redeemable through Nov. 8 — will appear in the app. This effort can help Wendy's collect first-party data about its consumers as it drives them to engage with its mobile app.
Wendy's latest stunt plays to the brand's strengths, particularly its Twitter account, which the brand has successfully used for consumer engagement and tweaking competitors. QSRs had sidelined competitive sparring at the beginning of the pandemic, but the tactic appears to be on the rise again as consumers seek a return to normal marketing messages.