VML Teaches You ‘How to Make Wendy’s Summer Berry Chicken Salad’

By Erik Oster 

Back in March, Wendy’s appointed WPP-owned, Kansas City-based agency VML, which had formerly served as its digital AOR, as its creative agency of record, replacing incumbent Publicis without a review. Following the appointment, VML announced a round of creative promotions. Now, some four months later, the agency has released a summer campaign promoting the chain’s seasonal salad offering with “How to Make Wendy’s Summer Berry Chicken Salad.”

The spot at the center of the campaign was inspired by a pair of social media trends: those recipe videos popping up all over your Facebook feed and people trying to recreate fast food meals at home. It opens with a promise to teach viewers how to recreate Wendy’s Summer Berry Chicken Salad in five easy steps. The catch? Those steps aren’t so easy after all, and include moving to California to grow your own blackberries. Of course the logical leap from getting fresh blackberries to studying soil chemistry to grow them yourself is a ridiculous one, but this is intended as parody.

In addition to the long-form version running on Facebook and YouTube, the ad will also run on broadcast in 30 and 15-second iterations throughout the summer, until Wendy’s runs out of those precious fresh blackberries.

“I don’t think a lot of people realize the length that a brand like Wendy’s has to go to actually bring in things like fresh blackberries, Wendy’s vice president of advertising, media and digital Brandon Rhoten told Adweek. “It’s definitely a spoof that we thought would look good in someone’s Facebook timeline. People are used to consuming this on a regular basis, it’s just a little bit of a twist on what they may normally see.”


“When we started digging, we found out that people on Pinterest are actually copying Wendy’s recipes,” VML creative director Daniel Lobaton explained about the campaign’s development. “When you mix that with the idea of these trending online recipe videos, we had this very simple idea: If you’re going to follow the steps to make a Summer Berry salad like Wendy’s, let us show you all the steps that went into it.”