The specific marketing execs who took part in the Q&A weren’t identified—Wendy’s answered questions using the wendys_irl Reddit handle—but likely included Meredith Ulmer, the senior social media specialist who leads the fast-food chain’s team of community managers (working with creative shop VML).
The lengthy Q&A was amusing. And it shined some light on some of the behind-the-scenes dynamics of the @Wendys account, which has 2.2 million followers and remains a pioneering presence among brands on the platform.
Below are 10 things we learned from the team behind @Wendys:
1) They have plenty of favorite individual tweets.
• What is your all time favorite tweet?
Just any tweet? Or our tweets? Favorite of ours is probably the Wingstop rap battles.
• What is your all time favorite tweet?
“Consider It Done” worked out pretty well for us.
• Was there any kind of award or commission for any of the team members involved on the initial tweet to the kid to get 10 million retweets for lifetime nuggets?
We won quite a few awards, also my mom put an article on the fridge.
• All time favorite McDonald’s roast?
That original asking for a friend one.
• I mean, it has to be the Black Friday one. I applied aloe vera after reading it.
That was also a fun day.
• Is there a particular tweet of yours that you feel deserves more love than it got?
There have been plenty of golden tweets that didn’t get picked up, but some just silently go viral, like that picking cheeseburgers off the vine tweet.
• Do you have a favorite tweet [from another account], one that you felt really proud of?
Anytime someone we like tweets at us, like the pro wrestlers, or Kumail quote tweeting us the other day.
Or when Overwatch tweeted us, sort of nerded out a little.
2) They have lots of respect for other fun brand accounts.
• What’s your favorite twitter account besides your own?
• Are you a fan of the Arby’s PR team?
Their anime stuff is a cool way to target a niche market for sure
• So how do you guys really feel about your competitors burger King, McDonald’s and Arby’s?
Obviously we think we are the best. Arby’s tweets sweet anime and video game stuff, so no hate there.
• Why do you all think that more brands don’t copy you?
I think many brands are getting a more fun approach. Poptarts, Arby’s, MoonPie, are good examples.
• Of all of the competitors you’ve roasted, who handled the situation best?
• What do you think of other companies copying your model? And their failure? (Gamestop)
Some are doing it well, some … not so much.
3) They love to roast McDonald’s.
• Why do you roast McDonald’s all the time?
Because they deserve it.
• Is there actually bad blood between you guys and other fast food franchises or is that just fake beef like McDonald’s?
All of our beef is real as heck boi. Don’t gets us riled up.
• Where’d ya get your excellent roasting skills from mate?
Inherited from a smart-mouthed family mostly.
• How do you think of your ideas when replying to tweets? As in the roasts?
It’s pretty conversational. Like it just sort of happens.
4) But roasting McDonald’s requires corporate-level approval, where many other tweets don’t.
• What’s the process for posting tweets, do you need to get copy approved before posting?
We don’t get approval for everything, but definitely for some stuff.
• Can you give an example of the kind of tweet you’d need to get approval to post? Just curious.
The McDonald’s tweets generally need approval.
• How did you get permission to become the Sassy Wendy’s we all know and love? Was it more of a “better to beg forgiveness than ask permission” situation?
It was a slow build of working together, earning trust, and building a voice that evolved over time.
• What made you guys say, “Wow, corporate accounts are boring,” then proceed to become one of the most successful public reach-out campaigns of the year?
We’ve had this tone for awhile, it just took time for people to notice.
5) They’ve gotten pushback from Wendy’s corporate on some tweets.
• Have you ever gotten in trouble for anything you posted?
Not like big-time trouble, but sure, we’ve been “talked to.”
• Have you ever had a particularly brutal one that you decided not to post?
We do stop ourselves from posting some stuff. Might save those ones for r/roastme.
• Was there ever a time when you didn’t tweet something because it would be too harsh?
Yes, lots of times.
• Have you ever been chewed out by the higher-ups for comments made?
Chewed out? No. Though sometimes they let us know they don’t exactly like certain things lol.
• Being savage on the internet is scary for brand teams. How did/do you sooth their concerns?
Success happened before anyone had a chance to be scared. And then we just kept going through mistakes.
6) It’s a demanding job, and not an easy one to get.
• Is Wendy’s tweeting a 40 hour per week gig?
It is way more than 40 hours a week
• Is it one person doing the savage burns or a team?
There are a couple main people that have been doing this (responding to tweets) for years, and a much larger team that helps us do everything.
• How long each day do you guys sit down and analyze memes?
You mean, how much time do we spend living like cool guys? ALL DAY BABY.
• To get the job as a Wendy’s media writer, what kind of sass test to you have to pass?
You must chug a sarsaparilla in less than 5 seconds without getting sick.
• How did you get this job?
I posted on this ama saying people call me “the beef” and they hired me.
• Do you need another member? I don’t have a Twitter, and I have no marketable skills, but my friends call me “the beef.”
You are hired.
7) But ROI is a bit of a mystery.
• How do you guys measure and report on your success? How does the company value social media engagement and track ROI?
It can be hard to track. Impressions, engagements, brand metrics, other marketing mumbo jumbo. People are talking about us, a lot, so that helps.
8) They get menu questions all the time.
• Yo. Yall used to have mac n cheese and it was FIRE. Can you let em know I want that back pls? ty.
Are you the guy that’s been tweeting us every single day for 4 years?
• Why did you get rid of the country fried steak sandwich in the mid ’90s and will you consider bringing it back?
We weren’t even 10 when this happened.
9) They also get questions about Wendy the redhead.
• How do you deal with people’s disappointment when they find out you’re not a hot animated redhead?
Used to letting people down in person. No biggie.
• What’s your take on the re-imagining of Wendy as a smug anime girl which spawned tons of fanart?
Some of the art is cool, but some people obviously take it too far because the internet ruins everything lol.
• Are any of you redheads?
Temporary hair dye does not wash out as well as it should, so thanks to Halloween the answer remains yes.
10) They’re as quick-witted as ever.
• What are your thoughts on A Christmas Prince?
We have watched it every day for the last 18 days.
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