Wendy’s “Perfect”

Change is good, we’re told – often as a way of introducing a specific change that’s better for the person inflicting it than for the rest of us. At a time when so much is in flux, there’s something comforting about things that don’t change. And that’s why this Wendy’s spot (via Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners) is smart to position the brand’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich as one of the constants in life. “Your style, your friends and your life will change,” explains the voiceover as a succession of scenes (from high school to college to first apartment to birthing class and finally on to a family meal at Wendy’s) appear on the screen. “But your taste for Wendy’s Spicy Chicken Sandwich never will.” Now, let us stipulate that there is something weird about the notion that everything in your life changes except your appetite for this particular kind of sandwich. But it’s weird in a basically comforting way. There’s more comfort (without the weirdness) in the spot’s characterization of the sandwich itself: “No new formulas, ingredients or gimmicks.” Given advertisers’ penchant for touting the “new and improved,” it must have felt strange to praise a product as wonderful because no misguided effort has been made to improve it. But the message will have considerable appeal in these volatile times, and not just for those hidebound souls who regard every change as a change for the worse.  -Mark Dolliver