While Wendy's brand was well known and liked in social media, it wasn't talked about nearly as much as the client wanted.
The fast-food chain aims to change that with a wide-ranging campaign that's tapped into social media, including a site called "Wendy's Real Time" that collects updates to Twitter, Facebook and Flickr related to things like hunger and burgers.
Now, the brand is hoping to up the conversation by attaching itself to the Internet's ongoing love affair with bacon. The effort is to promote Wendy's new Applewood Smoked Bacon burger with a social media campaign centered on a Twitter contest.
The "Bacon Hunt" contest, launched earlier this week, gives points to Twitter users following @UrBaconMeCrazy for performing different tasks, like updating about bacon or knowing how many bacon slices the new burger has. Participants are required to use the hashtag #bacon in all their Tweets.
The contest feeds into Wendy's Facebook page, which carries a running stream of tweets from users and a scoreboard of the competition's leaders.
The Twitter user @MinistryofBacon is currently in the lead. Visitors can also "give the gift of bacon" by sending friends a virtual gift of a Wendy's sandwich.
"We're trying to give people something to talk about and have fun," said Myles Kleeger, managing director at The Kaplan Thaler Group, the Wendy's agency behind the campaign. "The beauty of this strategy is it's creating more content for us for this hub."
There is little doubt that bacon is popular online. A bacon page on Facebook boasts 370,000 fans. By attaching itself to the meme, Wendy's is able to give people something to talk about that will at the same time help raise awareness of its product, Kleeger said.
"We noticed there was a lot of pent up demand," he said. "People really like the Wendy's brand, but they weren't talking about it enough. We're giving people things to talk about."
Kleeger said the program is helped by the fact that "the product is great," pointing to no less of an authority than the blogger behind MrBaconPants.com, who last month pronounced the Applewood Smoked Bacon burger "sets the new standard for what fast-food bacon should be."
The "Bacon Hunt" contest runs for just under two weeks -- "12 days of bacon" -- and will award one lucky bacon lover with $2,000 when it concludes on Nov. 20. Along the way, Wendy's plans to give away a $200 gift card every day.
Wendy's has drawn 1,300 followers since the contest kicked off on Monday.