Wendy’s Founder to Return in Campaign From McCann

NEW YORK Less than two weeks after dropping its short-lived “Mr. Wendy” character, Wendy’s International is temporarily resurrecting the image of its founder, Dave Thomas, in a new ad campaign, the company said.

Interpublic Group’s McCann Erickson in New York created new work in honor of the Dublin, Ohio-based client’s celebration of “Founder’s Week.”

A print ad and TV spot break tomorrow featuring images of Thomas, who died in February 2002. A voiceover lets viewers know that the fast-food chain is “still doing it Dave’s way.” Thomas founded the company 35 years ago this month in Columbus, Ohio.

The client has purchased a “roadblock” TV buy for the spot, which will run at 6:45 p.m. EST on NBC, ABC, and CBS.

A print ad will run in Friday’s USA Today.

From Nov. 22-Dec. 22, some follow-up spots from McCann will run to remind customers that Wendy’s still has the same values as those Thomas emphasized.

McCann had created and launched the fictitious “Mr. Wendy,” a well-meaning but annoying, unofficial spokesman, who appeared in TV spots and encouraged people to eat at Wendy’s. That work ran from February of this year through earlier this month.

Wendy’s spent $320 million in U.S. media in 2003, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus. From January through September of this year, the client spent $250 million in media.