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McCann: Families Come First at Wendy's

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NEW YORK As McDonald's and Burger King try to outdo each other with hip campaigns, Wendy's will target families in its "unofficial spokesman" effort.

Three TV spots by McCann Erickson in New York break June 2 in support of Wendy's Super Value meal signal the shift in direction.

"We realized the importance of the family market," said Don Calhoon, executive vice president of marketing for the chain. "There's a resurgence in the family connection in our country. It's a throwback to the '60s. We're making our products and presenting them in a way that's relevant to that thought. We see a business opportunity in that."

In one 30-second spot, the chain's unofficial spokesman, Mr. Wendy, umpires a Little League game. He tells players, "Hey, wouldn't it be great to go for lunch with your parents after the game ... like at Wendy's?" His family will also appear in the ads, which tout Wendy's Super Value meals.

The strategy contrasts with McDonald's and Burger King, which have aimed at being hip using Justin Timberlake and an online "Subservient Chicken," respectively. "It's better here" is the Wendy's campaign tagline.

Campaign spending was undisclosed. Wendy's spent about $300 million on advertising in 2003, according to TNS Media Intelligence/CMR. A client executive said the budget would likely grow by 10-20 percent this year.