Wendy's isn't known for meat on a stick, but it is doing a pretty good job of skewering schmaltzy pop ballads.
The fast-food chain is promoting the return of its pretzel-bun products with a series of faux music videos, and the first online clip is a masterful parody of please-lover-come-back-to-me visual clichés—the man waking up lonely in bed, the woman standing lonely in a breeze on the beach, and naturally, a lot of highly emotive face grimaces and hand gestures.
The lyrics, meanwhile, are stitched together from the actual online pining and praise of consumers, managing to flatter the audience while also ribbing ridiculous 140-character sentiments and slang. In other words, everyone gets to be in on the joke. And the plain vanilla music is just varied enough to hold interest without being good enough get stuck in your head and drive you crazy.
Throw in a couple of absurd sight gags, like a man lounging in a pretzel pool dinghy, and Wendy's has exactly the right cues for a comedy bit à la The Lonely Island—with the added benefit of being especially timely, in light of the largely mocking response to Robin Thicke's new full-album paean to shameless groveling.
The best may be yet to come, though, with Wendy's promising a clip featuring '90s R&B giants Boys II Men. Given the brand's enthusiasm so far, here's to hoping that's more along the lines of "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to [Pretzel Day]" than "I'll Make Love to You."
Also forthcoming is a bilingual love song to pretzels from Jon Secada. And if you were worried the brand might not be taking its throwback theme seriously, it's also out with a TV commercial (see below) featuring a less-than-compelling retake on Mr. Big's 1991 hit "To Be With You."
Burger King, for its part, may be doing some clever counter-targeting, though. In at least one instance, the pre-roll ad ahead of a YouTube version of the actual music video for the Mr. Big song served up the Wendy's competitor's "Proud Whopper" spot.