Wendy’s Fresh Ideas Lean to the ‘Right’

NEW YORK Fresh meat beats frozen every time. So says Wendy’s latest campaign from Saatchi & Saatchi in New York.

In “Kicking Trees,” which broke on Wednesday’s season finale of American Idol, a mass of people are, inexplicably, kicking trees in a forest. One of them, a man wearing an ill-fitting pigtailed red wig (in homage to founder Dave Thomas’ daughter, Wendy, the face of the company), stops and realizes he doesn’t have to kick trees just because everyone else is doing it.

He makes the mental leap to the idea that eating a previously frozen hamburger is just as ridiculous.

“I deserve a hot, juicy burger,” he tells the other tree kickers, who quickly agree. The ad ends with the tagline, “That’s right.”

“The spot is really [intended] to address the mind of the fast-food consumers. The 18-24-year-old kids eat fast food 24 times a month on average,” said Jan Jacobs, ecd, Saatchi. “That is a mindless exercise. They don’t think about the fact that [non-Wendy’s fast food restaurants] freeze their burgers or keep the food in a holding tray.”

The campaign features five TV spots with more in the pipeline, as well as radio ads and an interactive game called “Billy Bob’s Frozen Patty Skeet Shoot.”

Last year, Wendy’s spent $370 million in domestic media, per Nielsen Monitor-Plus.

“The whole concept of ‘That’s right’ comes from what Wendy’s has been about since day one,” said Leo Premutico, ecd at Saatchi. “Dave Thomas had a very clear philosophy, a simple vision for the brand. Our biggest challenge was to bring that back in a contemporary way.”

The work is the first major push from Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi here since the eatery shifted its business in January from Interpublic’s McCann Erickson. (Dancer Fitzgerald Sample created the memorable “Where’s the beef?” ads for Wendy’s in the 1980s. Saatchi eventually acquired DFS, so the account move marked something of a homecoming.)