VML, Wendy’s Are ‘Fluent in Sriracha’

By Erik Oster 

Are you feeling a little spicy today?

VML launched a new campaign for Wendy’s to promote the chain’s new sriracha-themed menu offerings: Sriracha Bacon Fries and a Sriracha Chicken Sandwich complete with sriracha aoili sauce and sriracha-infused cheese and bun. Following on the heels of Lexus’ sriracha-themed car, it’s just the latest example of the hot sauce’s exploding popularity, as Wendy’s seeks to court the sriracha-obsessed who might otherwise pass over the fast food chain.

In the 30-second, “Fluent in Sriracha,” VML introduces the new menu items, opening on what appears to be a class devoted to the proper pronunciation of the hot sauce’s name. The point is that while not everyone “speaks Sriracha,” Wendy’s is fluent. “Fluent in Sriracha” also depicts a man getting a Sriracha tattoo, an artist creating the Wendy’s logo with the sauce and a girl with a poster representing what we assume is a Sriracha-themed boy band. Another spot, “Sriracha Sriracha Wendy’s Sriracha Sriracha” contains only the words “Sriracha” and “Wendy’s,” set to the same footage.

For the campaign’s initial three days, the word “Sriracha” will also take over Wendy’s website, along with a “Sriracha in Everything” digital video series. One such video shows a pair of “scientists” adding super-heated Sriracha into a watermelon, anticipating an explosion. The brand is also working with Buzzfeed to promote the item across the publisher’s various channels and will give away some of the sriracha-themed items featured in the broadcast spots via its social media outlets.


“When you see someone walking around with a keychain that has a bottle of sriracha on it, it’s a pretty big indicator that this thing is significant—it’s not one of those things like ketchup that’s ubiquitous but it’s also not one of those things that no one’s heard of,” Brandon Rhoten, vice president of advertising, media and digital at Wendy’s, told Adweek. “It’s kind of mainstream, but hardcore mainstream.”

“If you are a sriracha aficionado, you’re going to try just about anything,” Rhoten added. “If you’re into this ingredient, you’re going to be curious about what else you can do with it.”

You’ve already read the crazy story about the guy who invented sriracha in L.A. but failed to trademark the name, right?