Wendy’s Taps Kaplan Thaler for Creative

Wendy’s has selected The Kaplan Thaler Group to handle lead creative duties on its advertising account, the client has confirmed.

The Publicis Groupe shop bested teams led by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, The Martin Agency, Venables, Bell & Partners and the creative incumbent, MDC Partners’ Kirshenbaum Bond + Partners.

Major media spending on the brand totaled $275 million last year, according to Nielsen.

When the client launched the review in May, chief marketing officer Ken Calwell said, “The time is right for us to significantly improve how we communicate the Wendy’s message to consumers.”

Kirshenbaum became a Wendy’s roster shop in 2007, landing creative duties on breakfast and late-night fare, and in early 2008 it supplanted Publicis Groupe’s Saatchi & Saatchi here as lead creative shop. The firm’s most recent work features close-up images of sandwiches and the tagline, “It’s waaaay better than fast food.”

In addition to traditional advertising, Kaplan Thaler will handle digital marketing, activation efforts and media planning, according to Wendy’s. The shop’s first big campaign is expected to launch in the fourth quarter.

In a statement, Wendy’s said it is continuing reviews of its media buying, multicultural marketing and public relations accounts. Wendy’s current lead media agency is Publicis Groupe’s MediaVest in New York; The Vidal Partnership here handles Hispanic ad duties.

Nielsen Business Media