Wendy’s said it has placed its advertising chores in review and has invited its incumbent shops to participate.
MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners is Wendy’s main creative resource. Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest is the lead media shop. Publicis’ Saatchi & Saatchi X and independent Vidal Partnership also work on the brand. All of the shops handle their Wendy’s assignments from their offices in New York.
Wendy’s said all of those agencies would participate in the process and that other shops would be added as the competition progresses. All chores are essentially being evaluated at once, and it’s possible that all efforts could be consolidated at one or two shops, according to the client. Wendy’s is handling the process internally without input from an outside consultancy.
The chain spent $275 million in major measured U.S. media last year and $65 million in Q1 2009, per Nielsen.
In terms of the rationale driving the review, client CMO Ken Calwell said: “The timing is right for us to significantly improve how we communicate the Wendy’s message to consumers. We are beginning to re-establish leadership in product innovation with new premium hamburgers, chicken and Frosty menu items this year. Our next step is to ensure that we have the best team talent and advertising.”
Recent efforts by Kirshenbaum have positioned Wendy’s food as being “Waaaay better” than its competitors’ fare.
The review covers the Wendy’s brand only and does not include sibling restaurant chain Arby’s, where media spending tops $150 million annually. Arby’s is mainly handled by Omnicom Group’s Merkley + Partners in New York.
Wendy’s acquired Arby’s last year in an all-stock deal valued at $2.34 billion. Wendy’s same-store sales rose 1 percent in Q1 (Arby’s fell 9 percent), with an overall Wendy’s/Arby’s net loss of nearly $11 million for the three months on revenue of $864 million. The loss included $15 million in special-item charges such as integration costs and other merger-relate expenses.