Wendy's Again Asking: 'Where's the Beef?'

But in an era of obesity, is quantity still in question?

In 1984, “Where’s the beef?” became a rallying cry that helped Wendy’s stand out in a fast-food industry hell-bent on downsizing and bastardizing the great American hamburger. It remains the chain’s most successful advertising moment (and momentary the campaign was, ending just a year after it launched), so perhaps it’s no surprise that Wendy’s is resurrecting the line in an ad push from The Kaplan Thaler Group promoting the new Dave’s Hot ‘N Juicy Cheeseburgers, named for founder Dave Thomas. The New York Times posted one spot, in which the actual Wendy Thomas, daughter of Dave, says of the burgers: “These would’ve made Dad say, ‘Here’s the beef!’ ” In another spot, actor Reid Ewing of Modern Family wears a vintage “Where’s the beef?” T-shirt around town, initially unaware of what it really means. You can understand why Wendy’s would go back to the well like this, but in an age of caloric opulence and obesity, does the catchphrase carry the same weight? Skimpy burgers are almost unheard of these days, and grotesquely large slabs of beef have become marketing mainstays for chains like Carl’s Jr. Sure enough, Wendy’s is putting a new spin on the line, recasting “Where’s the beef?” as a question of freshness instead of size. Which is good, since Wendy’s and its wafer-thin burgers of the past 20 years have practically made White Castle look beefy by comparison. Full print ad after the jump.