New Wendy›s Spots Stress Value

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Popular 99-Cent Meals Get Year-Round Play, TV Plugs by Thomas
NEW YORK„Wendy›s will expand its nine items for 99-cents Super Value menu as a year-round offering and back the strategy with a feel-good, anthem-style TV spot and two additional ads featuring founder and chief pitchman Dave Thomas.
All the ads are from the Dublin, Ohio-headquartered fast-food chain›s longtime agency, Bates USA in New York.
The success of the value meal led to its expansion and the decision to support it with advertising, a Bates executive said.
˜Customers told us they appreciate and give us credit for staying the course on 99-cent value,” said Gary Steele, executive vice president and managing director at Bates USA. ˜They are actually depending on us, and when we heard that, we said we need to put that back in the advertising.”
˜Wendy›s the beautiful,” a splashy, 30-second spot, features vignettes of Americana„farmers, cops, cyclists and families„that are intended to celebrate the brand and the Super Value menu.
Set to original music, the ad will run throughout 2000, in effect, creating a new sub-brand for the fast-food chain.
˜We felt we needed to make that the bedrock of this year›s value effort,” Steele said.
A TV push aimed at teens and ˜tweens” continues to employ Thomas, this time in the role of a pseudo-hipster.
In one 15-second spot, Thomas appears in color against a black-and-white backdrop, offering advice on appropriate fare for a date. The restaurateur is then chastised by the teens he is discussing.
Finding new ways to use the popular pitchman continues to be one of the agency›s biggest challenges, Steele acknowledged.
˜With everything we do, we learn just a little more,” Steele said. ˜But the hardest thing is to keep the campaign fresh and alive for 10 years.”
Wendy›s spent more than $187 million on advertising in 1998 and is on track to top $190 million in 1999, according to Competitive Media Reporting. K

Theresa Howard runs The Press Republic.